Project 3.1.5

Influencing wine style and efficiency through management of oxygen during wine production

Project summary

This project will use both model systems and pilot-scale fermentations to investigate the impacts of oxygen exposure at crushing or during fermentation on fermentation efficiency and wine style. Shiraz and Chardonnay have been the primary varieties investigated to date, and it is of value to establish whether the impacts observed with these varieties also translate to other varieties and styles such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, rosé, sparkling wines, alternative varieties, and also spontaneous fermentations.

The project will also monitor wines with known oxygen exposure as they age, to assess oxygen-related chemical changes that occur after fermentation. Factors that modulate these changes (e.g. metals, pH, time and duration of oxygen exposure) are critical to delivering the best quality product to the market and the consumer.

Finally, practical knowledge about methods for appropriate delivery of oxygen to fermentations, and dose, remains a limiting factor affecting the uptake of oxygen use by industry. In collaboration with industry partners, this project will address this limitation by exploring different approaches to oxygen delivery and developing knowledge and advice to pass on to winemakers.