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Video: Wine & Micro Oxygenation

October 27, 2007

With “only” 60 gallons of wine underway this season, I’ve got fairly limited options on storage vessels.

  • glass carboys (10 of them). Pros: lots of flexibility for keeping things seperate, press vs free, cab vs cab/merlot cofermentation vs cab/malbec cofermentation, etc. And they’re light enough that a person can move them. Cons: you’re managing a lot of delicate vessels. No oxygen permeability.
  • barrels (2 of them). Pros: its what the big boys do. “Normal” oxygen permeability. They look cool. Cons: expensive. Heavy. They need maintenance. You need to rotate the wine or blend it between barrels that are new vs neutral, otherwise you over or underoak your wine. Need to top the wine to replenish whats lots to evaporation.
  • Stainless tank (1 or 2 of them). Pros: they last forever, are easy to clean, are durable. Cons: Heavy when full. No oxygen permeability.

I ended up going the carboy route– only because I didn’t have my act together this year, and will end up having to move the wine before next spring’s heat hits us. And I don’t have a forklift. šŸ™‚ (Plus between my wine making friend and I, there was $0 investment to go this route.) Otherwise I would have likely gone the variable volume stainles tank route. Why the tank and not the barrel? I was on the fence about it– having never managed a barrel, it seemed it’d be a good learning experience. However I’d have to buy a 30 gallon new barrel and 30 gallon neutral barrel right off. Then hope 50/50 new/neutral oak turned out to be too little, so I can adjust up as needed with oak chips. Then scrape, sulfur, soak, and repeat each year until they’re spent and rotate in a new barrel. Just seems like a PITA. The stainless tank tho– especially the variable volume type like this one don’t have any of those annoyances. Problem is, your wine never sees any micro oxygenation, which after 4 years and 8 different wines (from grapes I harvested from both Alexander Valley and Paso) in carboys, I’m convinced is currently a limiting factor for me. And products like the OxBox are likely not priced for amateurs- as evidenced by the fact I can’t figure out how much they are.

So tomorrow I’ll have the joy of racking and cleaning 10 individual carboys of wine prior to introducing malolactic culture! Early new years resolution: have my friend in the semi-conductor industry build a micro-ox setup and pick up a variable volume stainless tank!

If you’re interested in learning more about micro-ox, check out this video: Micro Oxing With Michael Havens.

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From → Brewing

6 Comments
  1. Giving myself a shout out for making the video above….

  2. good stuff indeed Morgan. I tried to sending your site a trackback, but it looked to have failed…

  3. Andy permalink

    Have you ever looked at or considered a plastic tank for post crush/secondary fermentation? I’m kind of in the same situation w/this year’s harvest. I want to go up to 1/2 ton but do not look forward to cleaning all of those carboys. For the 4 weeks or so final fermentation and malolactic, I’m thinking these might be a good alternative, especially if you top off the air gap w/CO2 or N2. Then get your oxygnation using barrels for long term storage. (http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=USPlastic&category%5Fname=20726&product%5Fid=30809) (http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=USPlastic&category%5Fname=20719&product%5Fid=1357)
    Nice video!

  4. hi andy- those links don’t work, but searching for the id #s turned up some conical plastic tanks. they look slick, but I’m not sure what value they’d provide over just pressing and returning the juice to the primary fermenters, topped with C02/N2 and sealed as best you can? I don’t recall the size I’ve got, but these are similar to what I use: http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/19680/103207/Wine_Fermenter_-_44_Gallon_FDA_Plastic

  5. Andy permalink

    I use the same primary fermenters. I was worried about getting too much oxidation if I used them to finish out the primary and secondary fermentation. Do you use them to keep your juice in until the juice is dry and completed fermentation? (Sorry for the delay in responding but I lost the blog link). A variable volume stainless tank seems the way to go but I’m not sure if I want to spend $400 – $500 right now.

  6. rama permalink

    I complete primary fermentation only in them, however with a C02 or N2 blanket, I have a hard time believing they’re *more* oxygen permeable that an oak barrel. Try it and report back! šŸ™‚

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