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How Argon is Used in Wine Production and Preservation

Gases / Industries

You may be aware that Argon is used for preservation in the food industry, a shielding gas in the welding industry, and is sealed between the glass of double paned windows, but did you know that it is also an essential gas used in the process of wine production and preservation?

Argon is used in the beverage industry to displace Oxygen in a space as small as a bottle and as large as a barrel. That little burst of rising steam when a cork is popped off a bottle of wine is created courtesy of Argon. Any area of a wine bottle or barrel that is not filled with liquid is occupied by some form of gas to lock in freshness during storage – namely an inert gas. It is not mixed into the wine itself, per se. A drop of the inert gas is placed in the headspace before the cork seals the bottle, displacing Oxygen and maintaining the wine’s freshness by preventing oxidation and spoilage caused by yeast and bacteria. Heavier than air, Argon is ideal for purging and blanketing to evacuate Oxygen from the vessel, fighting against browning and acidity, which often leads to unpleasant tastes. The last thing you would want is to uncork a bottle of your favorite wine to relax after a long day at work, only to pucker your lips at the sour taste of oxidation.

A new novelty allows small amounts of Argon to be kept at home. An opened bottle of wine that has been sitting stagnant for a day or more no longer has to go bad. “Wine Preserver Spray” is the perfect companion for wine connoisseurs and is the solution for getting full use out of half-consumed bottles at tasting rooms. Before recorking, 1-2 seconds of pure Argon is sprayed back into the bottle to be enjoyed later to the same degree as when the wine was first opened.

Although Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen are also used in winemaking and preservation, Argon continues to be the most popular method among winemakers for its quality overall. Carbon Dioxide, however, is the obvious choice for brewing sparkling wine due to its effervescent quality. Yet, Argon is so popular because it can be used all across the board, from purging and blanketing, to flushing and dispensing. Before a tank can be filled with liquid and stored before bottling, both tanks and pipes must be flushed with an inert gas to eject any air. It is vital that as little Oxygen as possible comes into contact with the wine at any point during the process.

Winemakers understand that there is a specific chemistry required to formulate desired texture and taste. It is important to note that since inert gases like Argon are colorless, odorless and nonreactive, they have no adverse effects on the wine itself, but high concentrations of these gases in the workplace can be harmful, so proper ventilation is essential. Also, a minimal amount of deliveries per month and a stocked supply of atmospheric gases for winemaking purposes is essential to keeping the process operating smoothly – and that’s where Rocky Mountain Air comes in.

Our Commitment to You

Using Argon in winemaking is only one example of how this abundant atmospheric gas is used across the many industries we serve. One of our specialties at Rocky Mountain Air is creating customized solutions no matter what industry you operate within. Depending on supply needs, liquid dewars or an on-site bulk tank are likely more efficient options for wineries than high pressure gas cylinders. For home brewing, small high pressure gas cylinders should will work well.

Argon is one of many cryogenic gases we offer in bulk quantities. Liquid Argon has a temperature of -303 degrees Fahrenheit. Cryogenic storage tanks, vaporizers, pressure control systems and piping all need to be specially constructed to withstand such cold temperatures. Our cryogenics team has the expertise and experience to create a solution for you.

From a quantity standpoint, if one or more of your cryogenic liquid cylinders is being depleted each week and deliveries are becoming more frequent, it is likely time to explore a more economical option. We have the experts and the tools to assess your usage of Argon to formulate the dimensions and pressure needed to create a custom bulk tank that will meet the demand of your business. An appropriately sized tank will free up time and storage space, while increasing safety and decreasing costly deliveries. Contact your local branch today at www.rockymountainair.com to set up an evaluation, and have a blast at the Colorado Mountain Winefest!

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