What Is Field Oxidation?

Many techniques have been used over the years to create various types of wine that range from inexpensive ones that require very little processing time to the more expensive types that need a certain amount of aging to obtain the desirable flavours and characteristics. One technique that has emerged to expedite the winemaking process for the inexpensive table-ready wines is field oxidation. This process helps to soften the tannins in the red grapes so that it reduces the need of cellar participation in the process. While this act is acceptable under certain cases, novice winemakers need to understand that this effect is only temporary.

Definition of Field Oxidation

Field oxidation is just the action of allowing the red grapes to ripen further out in the field, which create permanent, inactive oxidative structures. Due to the fact that anthocyanins are only in the grape skins and not the heart of the fruit, they are not included completely in these structures, and this puts them at risk for over precipitation and polymerization after a period of time. This results in a wine that is too dry to the palate and therefore, not very enjoyable. Not only does the field oxidation lessen the amount of anthocyanins in the wine, but it also cheats the wine out of the benefit of active tannins. For just one example, three extra weeks of the grapes ripening on the wine can rob 90-pecent of the reductive strength from a traditional Napa Cabernet since it can consume only a fraction of its oxygen requirements. It typically takes a decade of aging for this wine to reach full potential with traditional methods.

Field Oxidation Practices Are Alright For Flavourful Wines Intended for Quick Consumption 

Since field oxidation is not ideal for expensive wines that require a lengthy aging process, it is only recommended for the flavourful, less full-bodied wines that are meant for quick consumption after their winemaking process is complete. Traditional winemakers will still produce their results in their wineries rather than relying on overripe grapes to expedite their final results. However, the novice winemakers of today will continue to push the boundaries to come up with their own unique versions of wine.

For additional details about field oxidation, consult with our experts here at Grapeworks Consumables. Also, rely on us for your winemaking needs since we provide a wide assortment of supplies, additives, machinery, small tools and equipment to address almost all areas of this endeavour. You can view our full lineup for yourself by perusing our website and just contact us for an accurate quote on your entire order.