Eric Wilkes

Dr Eric Wilkes

Group Manager Commercial Services, Australian Wine Research Institute

Eric has worked in the beverage industry since completing his PhD in chemistry at the University of Newcastle in 1997, where he held both teaching and technical positions. Initially spending four years based in the Hunter Valley with Rosemount Estates he moved to South Australia in 2001 to take up the role of Group Chemist with the Foster’s Wine Group based at the Wolf Blass Winery in the Barossa Valley. In 2007 he accepted the role of Global Manager Analytical Services with the Foster’s Group overseeing the integration and alignment of testing and technical services across their whole beverage portfolio on three continents. In 2010 he joined P&N Beverages in Sydney as National Technical Manager with responsibility for new product development, product quality assurance, customer feedback and product compliance before returning to the wine industry in 2011 as the Group Manager for AWRI Commercial Services.

Back to speakers

Can we get closure? Shining new light on the role of closures in wine faults

Few things divide the wine industry more than the ongoing argument about the impact of closures on the quality of wine and its likelihood to develop faults. Research has shown that different closures influence wine outcomes but the real effect for consumers is complex.

The International Wine Challenge has been logging and collating wine faults from the competition over the last eight years, and has analysed those faults in association with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). Approximately 160,000 bottles have been opened and more than 8,000 faults logged by the IWC team. In 2013 samples were chemically analysed by the AWRI to validate the sensory testing at the competition.

This level of data is unprecedented and has allowed rejection fault rates to be compared to a range of factors, including closure type. Combined with the AWRI’s extensive body of research on the impact of wine closures on wine quality, this becomes a very a powerful resource.

Eric’s presentation will review the findings of the latest research and relate it to the observations from the IWC data. Though it may not bring us closure, it will certainly extend the debate on the role of closures in wine development and faults.

  • A convenient excuse – are closures often blamed for faults that arise in viticulture and wine production?
  • Why wine goes wrong – what the research tells us about the effect of closures on wine quality
  • Cork, screw cap and the rest – the ongoing debate and what the data is showing us


Wine Vision