New wine technologies
The wine industry is big business.
None of these techniques is used in the production of natural wine.
Micro-oxygenation is the controlled release of small amounts of oxygen into wine, usually during fermentation.
Traditionally, fermentation and storage have been in naturally porous wooden containers, allowing tiny quantities of oxygen to enter the wine. Micro-oxygenation attempts to simulate this effect in wines fermented or stored in steel.
It is seen as a way of softening heavily tannic red wines and of speeding up maturation. It is rarely used for whites.
The technique is currently very fashionable and a particular favourite of Michel Rolland.
Reverse osmosis is a sophisticated filtration technique with two main applications.
- Used to extract alcohol from finished wine, allowing the wine-maker to taste his wine at different strengths and choose the one he prefers.
- Used before fermentation to extract water from the grape must. A more concentrated must means a more concentrated wine.
Like all forms of filtration, reverse osmosis is a violent process. Wine-makers try to limit the damage by applying it to a portion of the wine only. This can then be blended back in to the desired level.