Macrowine 2021
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 Are my bubbles shrinking? A deeper look at oxygen desorption in wine

Are my bubbles shrinking? A deeper look at oxygen desorption in wine


In the past decade, there has been an increasing amount of work dedicated to understanding micro-oxygenation in wine. Oxygen desorption into nitrogen gas is a similar process, but there has been little work focusing on this process and no work explicitly examining the effect that changes in wine components have on the process. The removal of excess dissolved oxygen from wine prior to bottling is commonly done in winemaking. A widely used method involves sparging nitrogen through the wine, in a process known as desorption. An indicator of the rate of oxygen desorption is the oxygen volumetric mass transfer coefficient (kla), which can be determined experimentally. The aim of the study was to examine how temperature, superficial gas velocity, and ethanol and glycerol levels affected the kla of dissolved oxygen into nitrogen gas in an aqueous solution of ethanol and glycerol. For the experiment, ethanol and glycerol concentrations were varied between 9 and 15% v/v, and 5 and 25 g/L respectively. The temperature was varied between 10 and 20C. The superficial gas velocity was varied between 0.15 and 0.32 cm/s. The experiments were performed in a 15L bubble column with a stone sparger. Before each run, the column was sparged with air in order to saturate the solution. Nitrogen was sparged until the concentration of oxygen was below 0.1 mg/L. DO levels were measured with an oxygen probe. The mean bubble size was determined using a high speed camera. The results showed that in the ranges tested, ethanol and glycerol concentration had no effect on the kla. A strong correlation was shown between superficial gas velocity, temperature and the kla The kla varied between 0.0139 and 0.0236s^-1. It was expected that the varying ethanol and glycerol concentrations would have an effect as the physico-chemical properties changed. Consequently an experiment was done in which ethanol concentration was incrementally increased from 0 to 10% v/v. It was found that raising the ethanol concentration to 0.1% increased the kla significantly relative to water. Beyond this the kla did not increase significantly. It was found that at ethanol concentrations of 0 to 0.02% the mean bubble size was nearly 2 times greater than at 0.05%. This suggests that the rise in kla is as a result of smaller bubbles. Preliminary tests performed on white wine showed that the kla was lower than in the ethanol/glycerol solutions under the same conditions. The kla range was 0.0094 and 0.012 s^-1 at 10 and 20 C respectively. The use of an aqueous solution of ethanol and glycerol overestimates the oxygen desorption rate in wine. This indicates that other unexamined properties within wine have a significant effect on kla. Oxygen desorption is significantly improved with the introduction of 0.05 % ethanol. Examining how wine proteins, acids and phenols affect the oxygen kla may give a better estimate of the desorption process in wine.


Publication date: September 7, 2021

Issue: Macrowine 2021

Type: Article


Steven Sutton

Stellenbosch University,Prof. Wessel Du Toit, Stellenbosch University Prof. Robbie Pott, Stellenbosch University

Contact the author


oxygen desorption, wine processing, volumetric mass transfer coefficient, nitrogen sparging, wine sparging, micro-oxygenation keyword3)


Related articles…

Is it relevant to consider remote sensing information for targeted plant monitoring?

An experiment was carried out to test the relevance of using satellite images (NDVI) to define locations of plant monitoring systems.

Red Grenache variety in Rhône Valley : impact of “terroir” and vintages on the aromatic potential of the grapes

The Grenache Noir grape variety, due to its originality and its representativeness, contributes very directly to the quality and typicality of the wines of the Rhône Valley. It is generally appreciated for its varied aromatic palette and for the roundness and suppleness it gives to wines. Since 1995, the Rhodanien Institute has set up a network of reference plots representative of the different types of terroir present in the southern zone of the Côtes du Rhône Appellation (TRUC, 1997; VAUDOUR et al, 1996 ) . Publications on the aromatic composition of grapes and wines are very abundant, but only a few articles have appeared on the Grenache grape variety PAUMES et al., 1986).

Grape variety identification and detection of terroir effects from satellite images

Satellite images are used to determine the reflectance dependency to wavelength in different grape varieties (Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay). The terroir influence is investigated through study of vineyards in France, Brazil and Chile.

Effects of different soil types and soil management on greenhouse gas emissions 

Soil is important in the carbon cycle and the dynamics of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O). Key soil characteristics, such as organic matter content, texture, structure, pH and microbial activity, play a determining role in GHG emissions[1]. The objective of the study is to delimit different types of soil, with different soil management and to be able to verify the differences in CO2, CH4 and N2O emissions. The study was carried out in a vineyard of Bodegas Campo Viejo in Logroño (La Rioja), whose plant material is Vitis vinifera L. cv. Tempranillo.

Zoning influence in chromatic parameters in Monastrell grape

Zoning analysis determine homogeneous areas principally from the point of view of the medium, giving as a result a map which cartographic units synthesize the relations between the edaphic factors; morphological factors of the soil and climatic factors