More Wineries are Turning to Pneumatage
As the international wine industry becomes more and more competitive, wineries are turning to technology to get an edge in the market. The goal is generally to extract as much flavor as possible without extracting too many harsh tannins. A small but growing number of winemakers are using a technique called pneumatage to accomplish this.
During red wine fermentation, the skins, seeds, and other debris float to the top of the container forming the “cap.” Winemakers resubmerge the cap by punching it down or pumping wine over the top.
However, punching down or pumping over the cap both can shred the skins and release seeds into the wine. Because these seeds contain harsh tannins, winemakers often have to press the must before they have attained the right amount of flavor.
In response to this dilemma, Pulsair Mixing Systems developed attachments for the base of the tank which inject air into the wine. This extracts color and flavor from the skins without tearing up the skins and releasing seeds. The health of the yeast cells also benefit from the oxygen bubbles.
Based in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Benton Lane Winery was one of the first to use pneumatage for their Pinot Noir production. Other wineries using the technique include Glen Fiona, Bonny Doon, Malivoire, and Cedar Creek.