Onsite Nitrogen Generator for Wineries: Nitrogen Sparging, Blanketing, and Wine Bottling
Winemaking is a delicate process that requires a great deal of passion, precision, and most of all, unlimited attention to detail. Certain biological and chemical processes such as oxidation and contact with contaminants can spoil a good batch or blend of wine, destroying the fruits of your labour. Oxidation and contaminants can alter the taste, aroma, and colour of the wine while also diminishing its quality and value.
For decades, vintners have been preventing this from happening through a process called nitrogen sparging. Empty wine bottles are also blanketed with nitrogen gas to prevent oxidation in preparation for the wine bottling process. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of installing onsite nitrogen generators for wineries.
What Is the Role of Nitrogen Gas in Wineries?
During the fermentation and aging process of wine production, the beverage can come into contact with oxygen and other chemical or bacterial contaminants. Oxidization negatively impacts the overall quality of the wine production and can alter or even ruin the final product. Over the years, however, winemakers have developed an important and effective strategy to deoxidize or degas wine and restore its natural characteristics.
Inert gases can be used to displace oxygen and neutralize chemical contaminants from the wine. Some winemakers use argon or carbon dioxide to deoxidize wine prior to the bottling process as these gases are completely tasteless and odourless and therefore won’t have any impact on the flavour profile, aroma, or colour of the wine.
Nitrogen gas, however, is also completely undetectable to the senses and it’s proven to be the most cost-effective degassing and deoxidizing agent in the winemaking industry. Nitrogen gas can be used as a sparging agent or a “bubbling through” process to remove oxygen and other bacterial and chemical contaminants from the wine.
Flushing Oxygen Out of Winemaking Equipment and Bottling
In addition to sparging the wine itself, the winemaking and bottling equipment also needs to be deoxidized. Bottles, in particular, undergo a stringent and thorough flushing out or blanketing process before and after the wine is bottled. Nitrogen gas is used to flush out any oxygen and chemical contaminants from the bottles that could spoil the wine. This process eliminates oxygen from the head space of the wine bottle prior to corking or capping thus helping to preserve wine quality for years or even decades.
Blanketing or flushing isn’t just limited to wine bottles, though. All of the equipment and storage units that the wine eventually comes into contact with must also undergo this process. Otherwise, the risk of oxidization and contaminant contact is too high. Therefore, blanketing can be an ongoing process throughout the winemaking process that must be carried out with the utmost precision to adequately preserve the wine.
Dry, aged red wines require trace amounts of carbon dioxide during the fermentation process to retain their strong, rich flavour profile and dark tone and therefore need to be sparged with a mix of neutral gases. Lighter, fruitier red wines, on the other hand, can be sufficiently sparged using only nitrogen gas.
White wine can also be sparged using only nitrogen gas. But to achieve the best results in terms of colour, flavour profile, aroma, and freshness, it’s better to use a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas simultaneously.
Benefits of Onsite Nitrogen Gas Generators for Wineries and Vintners
Installing an onsite nitrogen generator for wineries is one of the most cost-efficient and convenient methods of supplying nitrogen gas throughout the wine production process. The benefits of installing onsite nitrogen gas generators for wineries and vintners are plentiful.
Onsite nitrogen generators eliminate the need to replenish depleted nitrogen cylinders or bulk liquid nitrogen tanks and the associated costs of purchasing nitrogen and cylinder or tank rentals Health and safety issues associated with handling cylinder gas are eliminated. You will reduce your carbon footprint by vehicle deliveries of nitrogen cylinders or bulk liquid nitrogen. Having an onsite nitrogen generator installed always assures you’ll have a continuous supply of nitrogen gas at your disposal you eliminate the risk of running out of nitrogen due to late or missed nitrogen deliveries.
Nitrogen Gas Generators for the Food and Beverage Industry from Advanced Gas Technologies
Advanced Gas Technologies specializes in providing state of the art PSA and membrane nitrogen gas generator technology for a variety of business sectors including the wine industry. We can custom design and supply turnkey systems specific to your nitrogen requirements and also provide installation and maintenance services. Contact us today to learn more.