During the aging of red wine in oak wood barrels, or in alternative aging systems, interactions between the compounds released from wood, the compounds of the wine, and oxygen can take place. The main objective of the present work was to study oxygen-ellagitannin interactions by monitoring their levels in three model systems, all containing the same amounts of French oak chips and differing only in the oxygen content: total absence, only the oxygen released from the chips, and air-saturated (model systems F, OW, and OS, respectively). This study has highlighted the influence of oxygen in the ellagitannins' evolution and the relevance of the oxygen trapped into the oak chips, reporting for the first time the kinetics of oxygen release to the model wine. Furthermore, the indirect contribution of oxygen to the ellagitannins' disappearance by boosting autoxidative reactions has also been pointed out. Vescalagin seems to be the ellagitannin most affected by the initial oxygen levels.
Keywords: dissolved oxygen; ellagitannins; oak chips; oak wood; oxygen consuming kinetics.