An Overview of Oxidation / Reduction Chemistry in Wines
The words “oxidized” and “reduced” are thrown around quite a bit in the wine industry. But what do these terms really mean? Sure, they can describe high toned, aldehyde notes in brown wine or stinky sulfur smells. But these broad descriptors also have a scientific correlate. In this lecture, we will talk about the oxidation and reduction through a biochemistry lens. We will review definitions of oxidation and reduction in terms of electron swapping and how electron transfer relates back to the “oxygen” of “oxidation.” The role of oxygen in every aspect of winemaking will be discussed, from fermentation chemistry to elevage to phenolic chemistry. We will cover quite a bit of wine chemistry, but we will taste some wine, too. If you’ve always wondered about the biochemistry of oxidation, then this is the class for you!