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High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) processing can enhance the extraction of oak-related compounds from oak chips into wine and simultaneously increase the wine antioxidant activity

18 November 2015

Aging wine in oak barrels is a common process in winemaking. This process enhances the wine quality by improving the taste and aromatic properties as the wood transfers a series of oak related compounds into the wine. The slow permeation of oxygen through the barrel allows gentle oxidation of certain compounds to give a change in colour and sensory properties. These improvements in wine quality come at a steep cost to manufacturers; oak barrels are expensive and take up a large amount of space. In addition, the aging process takes a long time further increasing the costs associated with this process. For these reasons, there has been much research into novel aging technologies capable of providing these benefits rapidly. Tao et al. from the University College Dublin, in a joint Irish and Polish study, have found that the use of high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) processing alongside oak chip maceration was able to enhance the extraction of oak-related compounds from the oak chips into the wine and increase the wine antioxidant activity. This early study into this combination of treatments has shown that the pressure holding time was a more important factor than pressure alone. While further research is required on the physicochemical and sensory properties of HPP-oak treated wine during storage, this technology could provide promising results for the wine-making industry.

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