The capsules on all the bottles in this sale were removed for cleaning purposes. The bottles have been cleaned with a high grade antimicrobial.
Bottles with screw cap closures were also cleaned with a high grade antimicrobial. This cellar has been sighted and inspected by Stewart Langton.
The wines are now lying in Langton’s Melbourne cellars. Please contact Mark Samaha if you would like to arrange a viewing of this collection.
p. 03 9428 4499
Unit 5/650 Church Street, Richmond. Victoria.
Flood damage Stock was stored at Kennard’s
Kennard’s Self Storage
16-20 Black St
The wine included in this flood damaged auction would have been submerged under two metres or less of water, for approx 12 to 24hrs. Bottles were washed with a high grade antimicrobial to kill the high levels of ecoli. The wines were in cabinets stacked from the ground up so depth and time in water varied.
Details on the Flood Event Day
Milton was vacated by the Team at 3.30-4.00pm on Tuesday the 11th of Jan 2011. Water was half way up the driveway at that point in time.
Water had receded enough to get access by Friday 14th 5pm. Water still covered the street at this time but was no longer over the driveway.
Kennard’s estimate the wine storage area would have been completely submerged for about 24 to 30 hours. However it’s possible that it was only under 12 hours, very hard to estimate.
High grade disinfectant was used to clean up.
Kennard’s were advised verbally levels of E Coli are very high and purchased a high grade disinfectant to treat the affected areas, disinfectant approved by microbiologists and specifically designed to treat E Coli.
January 2011; Geoff Cowey Senior Oenologist | The Australian Wine Research Institute
There have been a few cases discussed over the last 12 months about submerged bottles of wine; generally submerged in the ocean/salt water conditions and subsequent tastings of the wine being found to be fantastic. The wines have often been decades old, however, and the tastings less formal, but from a storage point of view the wines would be well insulated.
In terms of water entry into wine, the same rules apply to that for oxygen, thus those wines sealed with screw caps should expect negligible/no wine contamination in the bottle. Cylindrical closures, particularly natural, more likely to be affected, and also more likely to soak up/absorb some of the water into the closure itself. This could lead to potential taint issues, as well as microbial growth(s) on/in the cork due to the increased moisture content of the cork and the generally higher humidity conditions in Queensland. We also have to think that power supply to many areas in Queensland has ceased for many days meaning additionally no temperature control in any of the areas affected.
A thought: Peter Godden’s Application team has a device called the Bevscan, which we have used to non-destructively detect in bottle, the bottle to bottle variation in production runs when wine is suspected of being diluted at the start or end of run, due to being pushed through the line with water. This technology could be used by companies wanting to non-destructively detect any possible breaches in the seal/integrity of the closure due to being submerged and any subsequent wine dilution.
Some water would be expected to potentially enter the screw cap under the skirt as you suggest, maybe less depending on redraw etc. I would be cautious using any sterilising agent on packaged bottles, particularly those with natural cork, mostly due to the majority of ‘sterilisers’ containing halogen active agents such as chlorine, that can impart chlorophenol taints, etc, particularly on any natural product, such as corks, and also paper labels, etc. Peroxide based agents also may damage neck and bottle labels, but may be appropriate if the wines were to be relabelled (which will most likely be the case for wineries with stock submerged in the muddy waters; less likely for consumer cellars/retail). Preferentially, an ethanol spray/neck rinse would be the least damaging but still an effective sanitiser, and has been used in the past for cases like you have mentioned in the EU. UV sterilisation may also be an option, and is used as an effective microbial control for water used on packaging lines. Note this would be very dependent on the bottle glass colour, as you would not want to expose wine to UV light if using a clear glass.
Given the type of water contaminant, and that E.Coli has been detected in some of the waters tested reported by Queensland authorities, leading to recommendations to not swim, etc, or avoid contact with the water in general, it does pose some reason for concern over affected bottles and more reason to claim losses through insurance.
Update January 25 2011; Rae Blair, Communication Manager | The Australian Wine Research Institute
Further to recent conversations with staff from the AWRI, we now send further details regarding flood water contamination.
There are two health issues for wine bottles affected by the flooding. The first is the actual wine in the bottle. Wine containing at least 11% alcohol v/v, and in combination with organic acids (i.e. tartaric acid), low pH value and phenolic compounds, creates a hostile environment that inhibits and indeed kills common human bacterial pathogens within a short time, measured in hours. Louis Pasteur first suggested that it was safer to drink wine than water in the 1800s: “Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages”.
The second issue is the surface of the wine bottle including closure, neck and rim. If the wine bottle has been submerged in flood water potentially containing pathogens then they will remain on the bottle, label and closure. The wine poured from the bottle may therefore come into contact with the pathogens. This means that the outside of the bottle and closure, as well as the neck and rim of the bottle should be thoroughly cleaned with ethanol prior to pouring the wine and drinking it. In addition, the pourer’s hand should be cleaned. Regarding the disinfection of contaminated surfaces, 70% ethanol or isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) diluted in water is regarded to be effective and should not taint the wine.
Floodwaters containing pathogens could potentially contaminate wine grapes. The growth and survival of these pathogens in juice and subsequently wine is possible if prepared without a sterilisation step such as filtration or pasteurisation, however, it would be highly unlikely that these pathogens would survive the fermentation process.
Updated 10th September 2012; Adrian Coulter, Senior Oenologist | The Australian Wine Research Institute
The above information is still relevant, although in this particular case we added some extra comments because the query to us was whether to use sanitisers to clean the bottles.
We would be cautious using any sterilising agent on packaged bottles, particularly those with natural cork, mostly due to the majority of ‘sterilisers’ containing halogen active agents such as chlorine, that can impart chlorophenol taints etc, particularly on any natural product, such as corks, and also paper labels etc. Peroxide based agents also may damage neck and bottle labels, but may be appropriate if the wines were to be relabelled (which will most likely be the case for wineries with stock submerged in the muddy waters; less likely for consumer cellars/retail). Preferentially, an ethanol spray/neck rinse would be the least damaging but still an effective sanitiser, and has been used previously. UV sterilisation may also be an option, and is used as an effective microbial control for water used on packaging lines. Note this would be very dependent on the bottle glass colour, as you would not want to expose wine to UV light if using a clear glass.
From a similar issue dealt with last year, this is what we concluded:
“It comes down to an issue of risk and taking all relevant measures to reduce risk. The most important reduction in risk is to clean the bottle, closure and the bottle neck once opened before pouring and to regularly sanitize hands etc to avoid cross contamination with other bottles, foods, glasses and implements. In addition, it is important not to re-seal a bottle with a potentially contaminated closure. If the closure appears at all compromised, such as a leaking or dented closure which would break the seal, it would be advisable to ditch the contents. Wine that is commonly sold in Australia is safe to drink within a short period of exposure to contamination from in vitro/test tube studies."
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