Practical Winery
65 Mitchell Blvd, San Rafael, CA 94903
phone: 415-453-9700 ext 102
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November/December 2007
Hogue Cellars (Prosser, WA), has 10 years of experience in using microOx. Jordan Ferrier, red winemaker, has been a key player in the development of this new technology. With high quality grapes coming from their vineyards, Ferrier rarely needs microOx to correct problems. Rather, he utilizes microOx on all reds in the Hogue, Genesis, and Reserve lines to "move the wines forward," and to facilitate integration in the barrel.
The Genesis goes into 35% new American oak barrels each year, and the Reserve into 75% new French oak. MicroOx is used sparingly with tankfermented Chardonnay, in conjunction with oak additives, to reduce tankiness.
There are 62 Oenodev units that can supply microOx through a custom manifold to almost any tank in the winery.
On the problem-fixing side, Ferrier has occasionally detected garlic and onion
flavors in wine (in barrels). On those occasions, he has pulled the whole lot of wine from the barrels into a tank where O2 is gently pumped at low rates in order to minimize those aromas. The wine is then returned to barrels.
In conjunction with microOx used on tank-fermented Chardonnay, oak inserts (attached in the tank in the form of fans), are added to enhance the structure and add oak flavor. The microOx rate used for the Chardonnay is low (1 mL/L/month), and used for about one month.
Unfortunately, research laboratory analysis of microOx results is only just beginning, and winery lab analysis is, for the most wineries, in its infancy. Tasting by winemaker is the main, and preferred, method of deciding what, when, and how much microOx is necessary. Ferrier, along with other winemakers noted in this report, repeatedly emphasized this.
Hogue now uses Orbisphere dissolved oxygen meters, which can measure in hundredths of a milligram, as opposed to an Orion which measured in single milligrams. Using these meters, Ferrier likes to keep most of the wines in the 0.075 mg/L range, attempting to integrate the oxygen rather than dissolve it, and monitoring the dissolved oxygen as microOx proceeds.
At Hogue, microOx begins right after primary fermentation, and continues until MLF is 95% complete. The rationale for ending at around 95% is that ML bacteria consume/scavenge the remaining aldehyde at the end of MLF that was generated by the O2.
With his long experience, Ferrier is sensitive to the use of microOx in his and the wines of others. Wines with overdone microOx feel "fried on the tongue," or dried out, with a plasticlike aroma and consistency. "MicroOx conducted on its own is OK, but seems to do much better in the presence of oak," says Ferrier.
At Mondavi Woodbridge (Woodbridge, CA), Todd Ziemann, winemaker, uses microOx on a wide range of reds (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah,
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Master box of the new Visio 6
Master box of the new Visio 6 micro-oxygenation system from Oenodev. It is expandable to a total of 60 diffusers and is fully automated with safety features. It has capability for remote operation, controlled from the winemaker's office, and can be set to express O2 measurement in either mg/l/mo or ml/l/mo.