Everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about... oxygen and wine. - TEXT + IMAGE EDITORS
Oxygen and wine
Friend or foe? Oxygen is both! Without oxygen in the air, neither man nor fruit can grow. And oxygen-rich soil is wonderful for the grape plant. Ploughing, digging and the more superficial griffage are operations in the vineyard to aerate the soil for the roots.
2. Risk to harvest
Guillaume Philip of Domaine des Diables explains using dry ice to ensure that oxygen does not reach the grapes. There are more tricks, because picked fruit will rot. Winemaker Raphaël Pommier: 'Picking at night helps against oxidation, otherwise you have to add sulphite immediately.'
3. Protection against oxidation
Making wine with little sulphur is what Paula González of Pyros Wines learned during an internship at Comando G in Spain, she told WINELIFE. Sulphur, or sulphite, is used in the wine cellar to prevent oxidation. Otherwise, like a carton of milk, a bottle of wine would have a limited shelf life.
4. Some oxidation is needed
Wine that is open for a week is going to taste stale and like vinegar. But the wooden barrel in the cellar and the cork on the bottle allow dosed oxygen to pass through, reaching the full potential of the wine grapes during ageing. The tannins soften and primary flavours become deeper notes.
5. Natural wine
Natural wine drinkers appreciate an oxidative flavour in wine. Orange wine also tends to be more earthy and oxidative compared to 'classic' wine.
Want to know more about oxygen and wine? You can read about it in WINELIFE 79. Order this one here!
Don't want to miss a single edition? Subscribe then subscribe to WINELIFE Magazine now!