“Give time to time, son”
There is a French expression that goes like this: “Il faut donner du temps au temps”. A literal translation would be “you must give time to time”, or “allow time to time”. Essentially it means that some things cannot be hurried, and sufficient time must be given to ensure its creation or implementation.
In a time and generation of instant gratification, ever faster required results, immediacy and instantaneity, unlimited availability, worldwide share-ability and obliged likeability, we must learn to slow down and re-learn the art of giving time to time.
You must roll before you crawl, crawl before you stand, stand before you walk, walk before you run. “Give time to time, son”. You cannot learn a language, master a musical instrument, repair a broken bone or cook a pie faster than the time it naturally requires. Taking shortcuts will just lead to a poor results and disappointments for all parties involved.
I believe it is the same for wine. Technology and innovation, both in viticulture and winemaking, have undeniably helped the vine grower and the winemaker control and master most parameters of the art of making wine. Consistency in the wine profile is thus achieved more often than not, to the pleasure and satisfaction of our customers. This being said, I believe we must be careful not to take shortcuts and go “plus vite que la musique”, another French expression meaning you can’t go faster than the pace of music….
This is true also for wine ageing, or as French people call it “Élevage”, which is defined as the progression of wine between fermentation and bottling. Comparable to the term “raising” in English; think of élevage as a wine’s adolescence or education”.
Put simply, a winemaker must choose to mature their wine in barrels or tanks. It’s a commercial reality that not all wine can be matured the traditional way in oak barrels, in fact about 90% of wine is matured in steel tanks. Barrel aging is essentially an “automatic” aging device as it balances naturally all the five parameters in the aging process: 1. Oxygen, 2. Oak compounds, 3. Turbidity (contact with the lees), 4. Temperature and 5. Time.
Micro-oxygenation is a technique that was developed in the attempt to reproduce the parameter “oxygen” in wine ageing. It is a technology that is built on the premise that a tank can “behave” just like a barrel if we are authentic about how we recreate the important processes that happen in oak maturation.
At Wine Grenade, our goal, quite simply, is to improve the quality of wine when made at scale inside steel tanks. We aim at addressing the oxygen component of wine ageing, but by using a permeable membrane rather than a diffusor, it goes a step beyond other systems available on the market — the oxygen is absorbed at a molecular level rather than through bubbles.
Other systems on the market promote the fact that they age the wine faster, which can be released earlier on the market, and thus improve cash management and wine rotation in the winery. You probably can do that by adding more oxygen that what a barrel would naturally do, but we believe that it is taking a shortcut. We prefer to reproduce the natural condition of a proper ageing, and let the wine get ready as it should.
Like my mom would say…. “Sure you can cook faster a “coq-au-vin”, “a boeuf-bourguignon”, or a “cassoulet” by increasing the heat source, but you won’t get a good one!”
“Give time to time, son”…