Oxygen - indispensable for our survival, but also capable of incurring damage to organic matter. Think of the look of half an apple left on the kitchen table top for an hour, or a bottle of wine left open for a couple of days for that matter!
The browning, the decay, the oxidation…
This very same oxidation is something we want to avoid at all cost during our winemaking process in order to preserve the pure fruit expression and freshness of our wines.
When designing our new winery, we have gone to extreme measures to avoid unwanted oxygen. This has resulted in not only purchasing some of the most advanced and expensive equipment, but even to have designed custom-made steel tanks! More on this below.
Here some of the ways we work to ensure quality by avoiding oxygen:
Our press in itself is the “Rolls Royce of wine presses” with it’s super gentle pneumatic pressing system and multitude of special pressing programs that help us get the best, and only that, out of our precious grapes. We press using different programs depending on variety, style of wine wanted and vintage characteristics. A pressing program consists of a series of presses = inflation of the internal balloon of the press. These vary in number, in pressure and in length. Also, the press will be rotated a specific number of time and the temperature adjusted accordingly. (You can read much more about the fascinating world of pressing programs here)
However, the most sophisticated thing about our wonderful press is that it is connected to a huge balloon with nitrogen!
Nitrogen is a gas that is completely inert and much heavier than oxygen. To avoid that our grapes and the juice enter into any contact with oxygen while being pressed, we fill the press with nitrogen to “push” out any oxygen. When the grapes enter and take up the space the nitrogen is “pushed” back into its balloon, and when the press is emptied again, the nitrogen flows back into there ensuring that no oxygen is present during pressing.
Our tanks are a piece of art! We had these specially designed for us as we wanted to be able to not only regulate each tank individually and fast in terms of temperature, but also to be able to work the juice and wine inside the steel-tank without having to open them. Usually when you do techniques like punch-downs and pump-overs it involves not only taking the lid of the tank, but also pumping the wine around manually “outside” the tank or punching down the "hat" of grape-skins; always exposing the wine or juice to some level of oxygen. In our new steel-tanks we have internal pump-over and punch-down systems installed making it possible to perform both procedures not only 100% individually for each tank, but without having to open the tank. All done by the push of few buttons. Now see that’s useful innovation!
As with the press and tanks we just had to get the most incredible piece of machinery to help our dear wines through the last leg of their journey from a happy grapes in the vineyard to bottled wines that put a smile on our members face!
This means that all processes at the bottling line, from filling the bottles to closing them is done in closed chambers with no oxygen present. It might sound simple, but just wait to come and visit us and see the bottling line. It’s rather mind-blowing! But again, our wines deserve only the best of the best!
When we move our wines around in the winery, e.g. from tanks to barrel, or into the bottling plant we pump them. And of course we don't just use "normal pumps" at Binivista as they can not only be rather harsh on the wines if they pump at a hard pressure, but also not be fully "closed", meaning that normal pumps often end up pumping also some oxygen into the wine while moving from A to B. The pumps we use at our new winery are not only super gentle and basically just "lead " the wine gently along, they are also working in a hermetically closed way that ensure that no oxygen get in touch with the wines as they are moved around.
The cherry on top of the cake - or should we say grape!
Finally; when the bottles reach you and you wish to enjoy the wines in all their splendour, ironically enough a bit oxygen is needed to make them show all their beauty. So, follow our advice on decanting and choosing the optimal wineglasses for each of our wines 😊 Cheers!