Reduction and Oxidation in Wine

Written by Franz Weninger on the 14th of March 2017

The Power of Reduction and Oxidation in Wine: Better Understanding the Reductive Strength or Anti-oxidative Power in Wine

When we switched to working our soil according to organic principles, what we observed was an increase in the reduction potential of our wines. This was back in 2005 to 2007, when we, as well as our customers, had to learn about this topic.

Sadly, wine science around the globe does not go very in-depth on these topics as every wine and every soil acts differently and a small change (foliage treatment) in the vineyard can have a tremendous impact. This means that it is up to the wine grower to experiment.

Lees and slow-growing vines producing thick-skinned grapes are the sources of reductive strength. Reduction can make a wine ageable for centuries, like Burgundian wines.

The taste of "minerality“, "liveliness“ or whatever you may want to call it are best preserved by reduction. In fact, reduction in wine is often interpreted as minerality. These two characteristics have a lot in common. Both are the result of vineyard work and spontaneous fermentation.

Franz Weninger

What increases reduction potential in wine?

Increase of Oxidation in Wine

What I learnt so far:

We can use this reductive strength to make wines without sulphur (we even had to decrease sulphur, otherwise the wine would be undrinkable for ten years because of reduction).

Wines with this power need time. Time to age, time to develop in the glass, basically time to develop taste. Time for understanding.

We need reduction in natural winemaking as it is one of the great gifts that nature provides, making wine unique among beverages.

Our goal is to strike a balance between these two reactions in wine. We need both of them. A balanced vineyard, correct soil cultivation, and cover crop management will produce balanced grapes in terms of skin thickness and nutrition in the grapes. With such grapes these two reactions will happen in the barrel all on their own.

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