Nomacorc, a producer of alternative wine closures, has initiated a three-year project with the Geisenheim Research Centre in Germany.

The research will explore the development of the Riesling varietal under varying amounts of oxygen and evaluate the influence of different bottling conditions with an emphasis on headspace variations.

"Riesling was selected for these trials because it is the most highly produced, prestigious grape in Germany and is well respected and enjoyed internationally," said Rainer Jung, scientist and vice chair of enology and wine technology at Geisenheim Research Centre.

Jung will lead the research team, which will evaluate the influence of different bottling conditions on Riesling wine development by conducting sensory and chemical analyses. Research will investigate the effects of bottling conditions including different fill heights, the use of inert gases to flush the headspace, and filling under vacuum vs. ambient pressure conditions.

"By partnering with independent institutions like Geisenheim, we can make significant progress in understanding how oxygen transfer through closures affects wine evolution, taking into consideration the varietal and associated winemaking style," said Olav Aagaard, director of global research for Nomacorc. "This research will allow us to develop closures that provide optimum oxygen management for the Riesling varietal while broadening our overall knowledge of post-bottling wine chemistry."

The study begins in July 2008 and will be completed in mid-2011.