February 2018 Issue of Wines & Vines

Micro-Ox System

The latest micro-oxygenation systems are more precise and easier to use

by Andrew Adams

The use of precise oxygen additions to wine, juice or must has become a much more common practice at wineries as suppliers have expanded and improved their equipment. The most typical use remains micro-oxygenation to mimic barrel aging in tank with the release of a tiny amount of oxygen over time. Some of these systems can also be used as “macro-oxygenation” during primary fermentation.

Part of the Italian company Enologica Vason, Juclas patented a calibrated-piston dosing system that it claims is the most precise method on the market. The company’s latest device is the MicrODue Plus, which is a computer-controlled version of its volumetric pump oxygen doser. The device has six dispensing points that can be set for hourly, daily or monthly dosing. The device operates a piston with compressed air that pulls oxygen from a tank into a small chamber or “syringe.” When the syringe is filled with sufficient air pressure for the set dose amount, the piston pushes the air down the line to a sparger in the wine tank. The MicrODue features a touchscreen control pad and constantly monitors for accurate dosing. The device is portable and can also be set up to run a macro-oxygenation program. Price: $12,500.

The Enartis WIN-IQ OX system can be controlled through a touchscreen or via a network. The Windsor, Calif.-based supplier reports the updated micro-ox device employs a mass-flow meter, which will automatically adjust to any variations in temperature and pressure. Users can run custom programs that can be updated or adjusted remotely. More than 30 analysis parameters can be downloaded, graphed and tracked. The unit can work on tank volumes from 100 to 1 million gallons. The device can be mounted on tanks and run as an individual unit or as part of a network of units. Price: Starting at $2,950.

One of the attributes Westec Tank & Equipment touts about its OxBox is that the system is simple to use: It’s either on or off. The device is available with four, five or eight dosing points and is designed as an economical and easy-to-use micro-oxygenation system. The device uses a high-precision flow regulator with mechanical flow controllers to provide either constant delivery for larger tanks or periodic dosing for smaller volumes of wine. Price: Starting at $5,680.

The French firm Vivelys was a pioneer in micro-oxygenation when the company was known as Oenodev. Since then, the firm has expanded to offer barrel alternative products under the Boise brand as well as winemaking consulting services and is part of the Oeneo Group. One of the company’s latest additions is its SCALYA system that incorporates micro-ox into a complete winemaking process management system. Through temperature control, oxygen administration and sensors collecting accurate and timely information throughout the winemaking process, SCALYA helps ensure wines are produced to specific quality parameters as well as quicker and with fewer complications. The system monitors all winemaking processes and provides live data on each tank in a graphic interface. Winemakers can use existing “recipes” to create wines to certain profiles or apply Vivelys’ recommendations to hit certain quality and sensory characteristics. In addition to monitoring, the system also logs data for traceability and vintage-to-vintage analysis. SCALYA can be used for precise applications of oxygen during primary fermentation to increase yeast efficiency and viability, to shorten fermentation time and turn more tanks quickly. Following fermentation, the system also can be used to easily apply and monitor micro-oxygenation similar to élevage. The system can monitor an entire winery or just a few tanks and can be expanded as needed. Pricing: Starting at $7,000-$10,000 per tank when installing more than 12 tanks.

Some of the early models of the Wine Grenade were pressurized canisters designed to be dropped into wine tanks, but the system has evolved into something that resembles other micro-ox devices on the market. Wine Grenade now has the newest product in the micro-ox field, comprised of a control box with an air line running to a membrane that is inserted into the tank. At the end of the membrane is a plastic float that risesup through the tank when the membrane is pressurized with oxygen. When the pre-set amount of oxygen is released, the float drifts lower in the tank, helping to ensure oxygen is delivered to the entire volume of wine and not just one point. Rather than selling an elaborate system, Wine Grenade is pursuing a “printer”strategy in that its device is economical and affordable to install but requires regular purchases of oxygen canisters. A typical treatment comes to around 5 cents per liter. A single device or multiple units can be connected and monitored through a Wi-Fi or cellular network via a smartphone, tablet or PC. Price: $599 for device and $89 per oxygen canister; the membrane is $29 per meter.

Italian supplier Parsec produces a wide range of oxygen management equipment and is distributed in the United States through ATPGroup. The company’s line of OxyGenius devices are small, portable and equipped with one dosing point per unit and are designed for small wineries or to deliver oxygen to wine in barrel. For larger volume oxygen management, Parsec produces the SAEn 4000 range that can handle two to 15 dosing points. The smallest of the SAEn units is also portable. At the top range, the SAEn 5000 can run micro-oxygenation as well as monitor fermentation and automate other winemaking systems and be accessed remotely via the internet. Parsec is introducing a redesigned SAEn 4000 range at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Price: OxyGenius units starting at $2,300.

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