Definition - What does Microoxygenation mean?
Microoxygenation is a process by which the winemaker can control the amount of oxygen that wines in certain vessels (oak, concrete, stainless steel) are exposed to. It is mainly used only for red wines. This method prevents the oxidation of wine and aids in the health of yeasts throughout the fermentation process.
WineFrog explains Microoxygenation
Microoxygenation is a practice used mainly for red wines to prevent the oxidation of a wine during its fermentation process. Too much oxygen can spoil a wine while too little can kill yeast cultures, leading to a stuck fermentation.
This microoxygenation has the ability to soften certain structures of wine, making it more balanced. It can soften tannins and by use of this method, it can also be a more inexpensive alternative to use in conjunction with oak chips and other oak substitutes.
In some cases, it is performed by connecting various chambers to an oxygen tank or allowing only small amounts of oxygen to pass utilizing a ceramic plate or porous stone at the base of the vessel.
The term microoxygenation is also what occurs when wine is placed into oak barrels for aging. While oak is porous, it only permits small amounts of oxygen in. This is beneficial for the slow aging of wines, thus improving the wine and allowing the oak to impart aromatic and flavor elements simultaneously.