Packaging in bag-in-box: precautions and procedures to prevent oxydation of Loire Valley wines

Thursday July 10 2014 by Vitisphere


"The BIB’s main shortcoming is its permeability to oxygen during the packaging process and conservation.  It is therefore necessary to use higher doses of SO2 and to practice sterile filtration. Despite this, the length of long-term conservation varies between 2 and 9 months,"  stresses Dr. Julien Ducruet (Changins school in Switzerland), at the latest Loire Valley technical sessions on 17 April.  Having worked on a new method* of measuring oxygen permeability in BIBs (tap and film), the Swiss researcher suggested a list of best practices to reduce the risk of oxydation during storage: "a cool storage temperature (5-15 °C, which decreases the permeability of the bags and slows down the oxydation of the sulphites, etc.), low air humidity (preferably less than 30%), just-in-time production (reduced stocks), determining the best Use By Date, etc."

These practices work particularly well with a wine able to resist oxyation (wine with good acidity, a good supply of free SO2, tight filtration, tartaric stabilization, no excess iron or copper ... and preferably a red wine).  According to oenologist, Severine Lepaul (the technical director at Ackerman), the fine analysis of the wine is critical to optimizing the packaging process: NTU, protein and cold testing ... and the measurement of SO2 and CO2.  As well as these measures taken before the packaging operation, the headspace (after filling) can be measured with the "BIB cone meter"  developed by Inter Rhône.  To reduce the oxygen intake during filling, Séverine Lepaul recommends inerting the lines (nitrogen, argon, etc) or, if appropriate, "to work at intermediate temperatures (the solubility of oxygen increases as the temperature decreases, cold filling is a critical point)."  She also discourages any agitation of the wine during the process. In her opinion, one should aim for SO2 levels of between 30 and 50 mg/l.



*: This method is based on monitoring the oxydative degradation of ascorbic acid in a model medium.



[Photo: Interloire]


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