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Nitrogen or argon in the wine industry?

Reality

Nitrogen or argon? – this is the question commonly found in beverage production in general and wine in particular.
Both are inert gases and are used in the wine industry to create a “pillow” in the free space above the stored substance, in this case wine.

The procedure is called blanketing, and storage refers to both storage vessels and bottled bottles.

Between nitrogen and argon there are some significant differences:

  • Argon is 1.4 times denser than nitrogen;
  • Nitrogen exists naturally in much greater quantities: 78% of the atmospheric air is nitrogen, compared with only 1% argon;
  • Argon is approx. 4 times more expensive than nitrogen, due to the limited quantity;
  • Argon is only supplied in bottles, while nitrogen can be produced locally.
  • Harder does not necessarily mean better – argon density can be misleading.

Because it is heavier than air, many wine producers believe that argon is stratified when added to the free space on the top of the storage vessel or glass and remains intact and unchanged.
In fact, it does not happen this way!

Solution

 

Argon, being an ideal gas, quickly mixes with air because of the molecular diffusion phenomenon, which virtually destroys the stratification effect that we hope for.
Imagine that someone opens a bottle of ammonia on the other side of the room and in about a minute you feel the smell of ammonia – this is the phenomenon of molecular diffusion in practice.

Gravity plays a minor role in heavy gas concentration.
Argon diffusion occurs also due to the existence of other molecular forces in the same enclosure, decreasing the ability of blanketing and leaving wine vulnerable to oxidation.
Because of the price, wine producers practice only occasional blanketing with argon when bottling wine.

On the other hand, nitrogen is a more economical solution, thanks to the low purchase price.

The film includes testimonials from wine producers who used local nitrogen, with Parker technology.

Savings
Low purchase price
Accelerates liquid transfer
From one vessel to another without affecting disintegration or alteration
Nitrogen purging
Removes oxygen and other microbiological contaminants

Nitrogen produced locally is also an advantage for other processes.

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