Using Inert Gases in Winemaking – WMA029

Using Inert Gases in Winemaking – WMA029

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma029.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSJust recently I tested out Private Preserve while bottling a raisin wine. Private Preserve is an aerosol can filled with a mixture of inert gases. In this episode we’re going to explore what inert gases are, why it’s beneficial to use them, and I’ll share my own thoughts and experiences using these gases. What are inert gases? Inert gases are gases that do not normally react with anything. Unlike oxygen which oxidizes things like metal, wine, and food, inert gases do not interact with these at all. You can expose metal to an inert gas and it won’t rust so long as that is the only gas the metal is exposed to. This ties into why you would want to use inert gases when making or more accurately storing wine. Why Should I Use an Inert Gas to Protect Wine? The best use of inert gases in winemaking is to displace the oxygen in a container of finished wine. After a wine has finished fermenting it will be susceptible to the negative effects of oxidation. A wine that has been exposed to too much oxygen will taste flat, flabby, and past its prime. Inert gases are used in a process called sparging, which is a fancy term for displacing the oxygen in a container with inert gases. Generally you would have your wine in whatever container it is going to be aged in, be that a carboy or bottle, or whatever and then you spray an inert gas to remove the oxygen and quickly recap the container to trap the gasses. Now you can also sparge an empty container and then fill it with wine, same thing. The Easy Way to Try Inert Gas Private preserve is probably the easiest way to dip your toe in the use of inert gases. It comes in an aerosol can and runs about $20 US. The can contains a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon and according to the manufacturer are “all benign, non-flammable, tasteless, and medial quality”. The can does come with a short straw that you can use to direct the flow of gases. Originally it was developed for wine drinkers to top up their open bottles of wine to preserve it for the next day. I’d certainly go that far if I was drinking something expensive or really fancy but it also comes in handy for home wine makers looking to try inert gases. The alternative is to go out and buy a tank of inert gas but in addition you’ll need hoses and regulators to control the flow of and direct the gas into your container of choice. Generally these gases come in decent sized tanks that might take a home wine maker a long time to go through. I’ve priced small systems out and found that it would take $150 – $200 to get going with inert gases. This is pretty expensive in comparison to $20 for the aerosol can. Using Private Preserve When you pick up a can of Private Preserve the first thing you’ll notice...

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