Article by The Academic Wino

There are currently a number of different winemaking techniques and technologies that improve upon the quality of wine.  One method is the use of micro-oxygenation during the red winemaking process.  Micro-oxygenation of red wine allows a wine to be released to the market at a young age while still possessing characteristics of a wine that appears to have been aged for many months.

Micro-oxygenation works by adding a controlled rate and flow of oxygen into red wine to stabilize color and improve astringency and aromatic components of the final product.  One problem with this technique is that each grape variety behaves differently during the micro-oxygenation process, thereby making it much more difficult to know exactly how much oxygen and how quickly the oxygen should be injected into the wine.

Modern winemakers understand that adding oxygen affects the chemical and sensory components of a wine.  General changes include changes to phenolics, sulfur compounds, and oxygen consumption.  Several problems can occur if the wine is exposed to too much oxygen, including the oxygenation of phenolic compounds, increases in astringency, color, mouthfeel, and bacteria populations.

Finding the right amount of oxygen to add to red wine could have important quality and economic benefits for a winery, in that if the “correct” amount of oxygen is added, wine quality would improve which would theoretically increase the consumer “liking” of the wine and ultimately increase consumer purchasing of said wine.

The goal of this study was to determine how micro-oxygenation of red wine at different rates affects the sensory characteristics of the wine (specifically, Cabernet Sauvignon) and also how micro-oxygenation of Cabernet Sauvignon affects consumer preference…