Macrowine 2021
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 Wood from barrique: release of phenolic compounds and permeability to oxygen

Wood from barrique: release of phenolic compounds and permeability to oxygen


Chemical and sensory changes occurring in red wine during ageing in oak barrique are due to the slow and gradual entrance of oxygen along with a release of ellagic tannin from the wood. Though oxygen can enter the cask through the bunghole, it is not clear the role of permeation through the wood staves as well as the amount of oxygen entering by permeation. The distribution of the released ellagic tannins in the wine ageing is also unknown. The oxygen passing through the bunghole may have a different wine ageing effect compared to the oxygen permeating through the wooden staves owing to the uneven ellagic tannin concentration throughout the wine. This tannin acts as essential oxidation mediator since it prevents the straight oxidation of flavan-3-ol units and anthocyanins in wine ageing. On these bases, the release of phenols was monitored in a model solution where oak wood was soaked. The solution was stored in the dark at 15°C for two weeks and then it was recovered. Samples were drawn at different distance and depth from the wood. The release of phenols was evaluated for further two weeks to mimic the use of the barrique. Moreover, the permeability of oak wood to oxygen was investigated in either dry or wet oak wood. Results showed that higher concentration of tannin occurred near to the wood (vertically placed staves) and close to the bottom of the container, whereas higher concentration of phenols was still revealed following to the second soaking of the staves in the deepest layer of the solution but farther away from the wood. According to the experimental data, the release of tannins followed a gradient towards the bottom of the container probably due to the higher density of the solution. The oxygen transmission rate through dry oak wood approached 5 g m-2 day-1 and it decreased 5-6 times when wet wood was considered. The oxygen inside the barrique could be estimated to about 15 g L-1 year-1 considering the barrique full of wine. Such values appeared by far higher than the values suggested in the updated literature and showed the essential role exerted by the wood tannin in protecting the phenols of red wine from oxidation.

Publication date: May 17, 2024

Issue: Macrowine 2016

Type: Poster


Antonio Tirelli*, Daniela Fracassetti, Luciano Piergiovanni, Stefano Farris

*DeFENS-Università degli Studi di Milano

Contact the author


IVES Conference Series | Macrowine | Macrowine 2016


Related articles…

Influence of methyl jasmonate foliar application to vineyard on grape volatile composition over three consecutive vintages

An alternative to improve grape quality is the application to the vineyard of elicitors. Although these compounds were first used to increase resistance of plants against pathogens, it has been found that they are also able to induce mechanisms involved in the synthesis of phenolic compounds and some amino acids. However, researches about the influence of elicitors on grape volatile composition are scarcely. Therefore, the aim of this work was to study the influence of methyl jasmonate (MeJ) foliar application on grape aroma composition over three consecutive vintages. MeJ was applied to Tempranillo grapevines at a concentration of 10 mM in 2013, 2014, and 2015 years. Control plants were sprayed with water.

Nitrogen – Lipid Balance in alcoholic fermentations. Example of Champagne musts

Nutrient availability – nitrogen, lipids, vitamins or oxygen – has a major impact on the kinetics of winemaking fermentations. Nitrogen is usually the growth-limiting nutrient and its availability determines the fermentation rate, and therefore the fermentation duration. In some cases, in particular in Champagne, grape musts have high nitrogen concentrations and are sometimes clarified with turbidity below 50 NTU. In these conditions, lipid deficiencies may occur and longer fermentations can be observed. To better understand this situation, a study was realized using a synthetic medium simulating the composition of a Champagne must : 180 g/L of sugar, 360 mg/L of assimilable nitrogen and a lipid content ranging from 1 to 8 mg/L of phytosterols (mainly β-sitosterol).

Colour assessment of port wines using colorimetric and spectrophotometric methods

Colour is an important quality parameter in wines and is the result of a complex mixture of pigments
(including anthocyanins and their derivatives, quinones, xanthyllium compounds, etc.). Red wine colour changes over time as pigments react between themselves and with other wine macromolecules
(particularly polyphenols). During wine tasting, colour is normally assessed on the outer rim of the wine profile in a tilted glass, since most wines are too opaque to be analysed in the middle of the glass. Therefore, depending on the depth of observation considered, the perception of wine colour can be different.

How small amounts of oxygen introduced during bottling and storage can influence the metabolic fingerprint and SO2 content of white wines

The impact of minute amounts of headspace oxygen on the post-bottling development of wine is generally considered to be very important, since oxygen, packaging and storage conditions can either damage or improve wine quality. This is reflected in the generalised use of inert bottling lines, where the headspace between the white wine and the stopper is filled with an inert gas. This experiment aimed to address some open questions about the chemistry of the interaction between wine and oxygen, crucial for decisions regarding optimal closure. While it is known that similar amounts of oxygen affect different wines to a variable extent, our knowledge of chemistry is not sufficient to construct a predictive method.

Defining the mechanisms and impact of winemaking treatments on tannin and polysaccharides in red wine: recent progress in creating diverse styles

Tannin and polysaccharide concentration and composition is important in defining the texture of red wines, but can vary due to factors such as cultivar, region, grape ripeness, viticultural practices and winemaking techniques. However, the concentration and composition of these macromolecules is dependent not only on grape tannin and polysaccharide concentration and composition, but also their extractability and, in the case of polysaccharides, their formation by yeast. Through studies into the influence of grape maturity, winemaking and sensory impacts of red grape polysaccharides, seed and skin tannins, recent research in our laboratory has shown that the processes involved in the extraction of these macromolecules from grapes and their retention in wine are very complex.