Today Yonah Mountain Vineyards is excited to announce another step forward in our ambitious sustainability program.
Yonah Mountain Vineyards' goal is to make the best wines in the world while being conscious of our environmental impact and to do our part to mitigate those repercussions. With these goals in mind, we took a closer look at what we use to seal our wines.
Using corks for wine can have both positive and negative effects on the environment. Cork is a renewable and biodegradable material that can be harvested without damaging the tree. However, cork harvesting can be a labor-intensive and costly process, and some cork forests are being converted to other uses, including agriculture or urban developments. This often reduces their ecological value. Additionally, the transportation of corks from source to wine producers generates greenhouse gas emissions, and non-recycled corks contribute to landfill waste.
Corks are often used for red wines because they allow a small amount of air to seep into the bottle over time, which can help red wines age and develop more complex flavors and aromas. Red wines typically have more tannins and other compounds that can benefit from slow exposure to oxygen, which softens the wine and enhances its bouquet. "Our red wines benefit from the cork that allows them to age accordingly," said Bob Miller, Co-owner, Yonah Mountain Vineyards.
In white wines, the same small amount of air seeping into the bottle can cause oxidation and spoilage. Oxidation can reduce the flavors and aromas, as well as change the color and texture of the wine. Additionally, corks can sometimes produce "cork taint" in the wine. "While cork taint can affect any type of wine, it is particularly noticeable in white wines, which have a more delicate flavor profile than red wines," said Tristen Vanhoff, Yonah Mountain Vineyards Winemaker. As a result, many white wine producers have started using alternative closures, such as screw caps or synthetic corks, to avoid these issues.
Today, we are thrilled to share that we are making the environmental and wine-friendly move to caps for most of our white wines. Not only is this better for the environment but it also allows our whites to be stored for longer periods without the slight oxidation that corks allow. This new initiative will help maintain the high quality of our white wine while also reducing our burden on the planet.
The first wines with caps will be released later this year. We are excited to share these wines with you and thank you for being a part of our ever-evolving journey!
Bob, Jane, and Eric Miller, Owners
Tristen Vanhoff, Wine Maker