Technique

Oxidation in Winemaking

The early signs of oxidation are orange to brown colors developing in your wine. In white wine, the same exact wine (pictured above) can go from white (left) to brown (right) if oxygen exposure is not prevented. Image by Mick Rock/Cephas Library Based on what I have seen in wine competition results and from my judging experience, oxidation in wine remains the #1 wine fault, well ahead of other flaws and faults encountered, and this in spite of the wide availability of information from Internet sources, magazines, and books. Statistically, white wines make up the majority of oxidized wines given to their greater susceptibility, although oxidation is also encountered in red wines, as well as fruit and country wines. And this holds true whether the wines are made from kits, fresh juice, grapes or fresh fruits and vegetables. Why are oxidized wines still such a common occurrence? And why are hobby winemakers not recognizing this fault and still submitting these flawed wines into competition? Here, we review concepts in wine oxidation chemistry, how to recognize when a wine is oxidized,