Published in Applied Research
Customized oxygenation barrels for controlled wine aging

The process of aging red wines in barrels is a common practice that aims to improve the quality of the wine. Oxygen, together with the compounds released by the oak wood, is responsible for this improvement through interaction with the wine compounds during the process. Wood as a natural product presents a series of highly significant discontinuities in its characteristics, not only between trees of the same species, but even between different areas of the same log. It is not surprising that, despite the homogenization of the characteristics of the wood due to the number of staves in a barrel (around 30 pieces), barrels made from the same batch of wood show very different behavior when aging the same wine. The work led by Spanish researchers and published on the journal Food Research International presents the results of applying a new way of classifying wood in cooperage by means of image analysis of the staves, based on its anatomical characteristics besides grain and handling of the staves, in order to achieve the production of barrels with a desired oxygen transfer rate (OTR) potential and also with great homogeneity between manufacturing batches. The two batches of barrels built with high and low OTR proved to be very homogeneous and the oxygen dosage of the high OTR barrels was more than twice that of the low OTR barrels, which confirmed the success of the system developed.

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