Researcher Studies Premox in Red Wine

The Ideal Wine Company has learned that a Bordeaux-based researcher has started studying premox in red wines, after having previously identified some of the reasons it sometimes occurs in whites.


Premature Oxidisation, also called ‘Premox,’ is a flaw that’s mainly found in white wines. It’s noted to occur when vintages reach an acceptable age-ability, but have been exposed to oxidisation, rendering their contents undrinkable.

Researchers have strived for years to determine the causes of premox. It has long been believed that the main cause is a loosely fitted cork in a bottle of wine. The theory goes that a loose cork lets air into the bottle, oxidising the liquid inside.  However, many experts disagree and a recent study conducted by Dr Valérie Lavigne, a Bordeaux-based researcher, has shown that it’s a lot more complicated.

Studying premox

Lavigne examined the causes of premox in white wine. Her research determined that it comes down to three overriding factors. The first was the vigour of the vine; she noted that “you need a very vigorous vine with no hydric stress” to avoid premox in wine.

Lavigne also cited pressing quality as a cause. The expert argued that when a must with sufficient solids is extracted during pressing, it can limit the number of nutrients available to the yeast. This can lead to a slow start to fermentation or premature termination, which can both induce premox. Finally, Lavigne argued that a long period between primary fermentation and the conversion of malic to lactic acid through bacteria, can also cause wine to suffer from premox.

Turning to red wine

Drinks Business has reported that now the Bordeaux-centred researcher has decided to turn her attention to Bordeaux red wine. Explaining her decision, Lavigne said that “we are considering premox in Bordeaux and elsewhere because we believe there is a problem connected to the fact that more people are harvesting later.”

She went on to elaborate that if the grape bunches are left on the vine for a long period of time, “more grapes are overripe, and we think that this means that the wines are losing their ageing ability.” Valérie also said that this is “a particular problem in Bordeaux for the Merlot,” one of the region’s most beloved grapes.

Buy a Bordeaux

Here at the Ideal Wine Company, we can’t wait to see what Lavigne discovers when she finishes studying premox in Bordeaux red wines. Her findings may provide wine makers in the region with the knowledge they need to ensure they produce a greater supply quality vintages. In the meantime if you want to try a great bottle, why don’t you buy the Chateau Petrus 2001, a standout Bordeaux, from the Ideal Wine Company!


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