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Oxygen and Wine: A Careful Balance

Posted by CM Support
Oct 26, 2015 | Keywords: fermentation  Pinot Noir  UC Davis Wine  Wine and Oxygen  wine technology  

At the beginning of fermentation, when Oxygen is present, yeast use it to synthesize fatty acids and sterols. These specific types of chemicals are then used for cell wall maintenance and population growth—yeast stay healthy, happy and plentiful throughout the fermentation. When Oxygen is added to the fermenting must, it helps to limit negative volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs–think H2S) and helps stabilize color as well as help the tannins become more complex and rounded – like the tannin in Clos de la Tech wines.



The Classic French winemaker’s approach was to have people climb into the vat with the crushed grapes and splash around to agitate the must to introduce a little oxygen. Unfortunately, you also run the risk of adding too much oxygen, which can result in oxidation (dulling of the fruit, with VA and sherry-like aromas).



The Clos de la Tech solution involves a bit of technology. Each fermentation tank has its own utility station – each station has hot, warm and cold water, nitrogen, a Fermentation Control Box, and yes, Oxygen. The Oxygen line gives us the ability to add just the right amount of oxygen to each individual fermentor at just the right time.



Moreover, we don’t use regular air. To guard against introducing air-borne bacteria, pollutants, etc., we use an air-purification system in our cave before it arrives at the utility station.



So, what are the benefits of a little Oxygen? Just like classic Burgundian winemakers, we know that just the right amount of oxygen at just the right time would result in a wine having deeper and more stable color, softer tannins and a smoother mouth feel.


A little breath of Oxygen can make a big difference to a world class Pinot Noir.


Clos de la Tech Pinot Noir is currently available for purchase here.