Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, has announced its partnership with French beverage expert Wikeeps®.

Organoleptic properties – that is, colour, aroma, taste and body - are the elements which make wine a unique product and desirable to consume. Once a bottle of wine is opened, however, the natural process of deterioration begins due to the wine coming into contact with oxygen in the air. Prolonged contact with oxygen is harmful to wine, destroying these key organoleptic characteristics, resulting in premature aging and often rendering the wine undrinkable.

The most efficient method to prevent oxidation is injection of neutral – or inert – gas into the wine making or storage process to effectively reduce the amount of oxygen in contact with the wine. Inert gas injection is a familiar process to wine makers worldwide and is systematically and efficiently used in the making and ageing of wines right up to the bottling process.

“Linde Gases has historically been a leading provider of oenological gases to help wine growers maintain superlative wine quality from the vine to the bottle,” said Steve Finley, head of Beverage Applications team at Linde. “This innovative and important partnership with Wikeeps® now allows us to extend our gas technology expertise truly across the supply chain, maintaining wine quality from the vine to the glass.”

In order to facilitate the maturing of a fine wine and the development of the qualities unique to each grape variety, protection against oxidation is vital. Argon, CO2 and nitrogen are natural, atmospheric gases employed to displace normal air (comprising almost 21 percent oxygen) in the racking, sparging and storing processes. This industrial gases know-how is now employed by Wikeeps® in their innovative post-bottling Wine Keeping System. Consisting of a state-of-the-art serving siphon which is inserted into the bottle - to which is attached a cartridge containing an inert gas mixture - gas is emitted into the bottle when pressing the nozzle, ensuring air cannot enter and serving the wine into the glass.

By the injection of one of four inert gas mixtures into the wine bottle, the gases replace the layer of air above the wine, creating a protective atmosphere and leaving the organoleptic properties of the wine unaffected. Linde has developed four gas mixtures, each specifically suited to the type of wine being preserved - red, white, rosé, or sparkling, including champagne. Protected from any chemical reaction caused by air contamination, the wine retains its original quality for up to three weeks. The system also allows for easy and moderate pouring of the wine.

$quot;We were aware that Linde had a great reputation in the wine industry and a worldwide network$quot;, said Patxi Hualde, business development director for Wikeeps®. $quot;As we began to work with them, it became clear that they were the logical partner. They worked closely with us to design the perfect gas mixtures to preserve wines' freshness and aromas,$quot; continued Hualde. $quot;Our gas mixtures are the same ones used by prestigious wineries to maintain their wine quality at the highest level during all their processes and vinification steps.$quot;