Michel VALADE, Isabelle TRIBAUT-SOHIER, Denis BUNNER, Clément PIERLOT, Dominique MONCOMBLE, Dominique TUSSEAU

In the first part of this article (1) we brought up ideas regarding additions of oxygen during the winemaking process, before the bottling phase. These additions are quite different from one facility to another since they depend on many factors. In large Champagne-area units, the average oxygen addition from the end of fermentation to the tirage phase is estimated from 3 et 5 mg/L. This number can increase by two or three-fold when bad winemaking practices come into play. Preventative management by using inert or neutral gasses (such as nitrogen) can help diminish the amounts of residual oxygen of the wines in tanks. These are techniques that are not used by wineries enough. Not all additions of oxygen are limited to the ones added in tanks. Also important to consider are additions that are post-bottling phase, and in the storage and also the degorging of champagne have more weight in the key factors to consider. The ultimate step in knowing the capacity of a wine to absorb oxygen throughout the vinification will be to be able to predict the capacity of the wine, or even must, to resist oxidation. Having a test to determine this will take many more years of work to understand the whole process and the chemistry behind it.
Published on 11/28/2007
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