Are there any negative health effects associated with consuming wine that has been preserved under argon gas?

Nov 30, 2016

Q: Are there any negative health effects associated with consuming wine that has been preserved under argon gas? And does it have any impact on the wine's aromas or flavors? —Ron

A: Argon is an inert, non-toxic gas. It's denser than oxygen and present in 1 percent of the air we breathe. It's an extremely stable element with non-reactive properties. It has many industrial uses, including as a preservative of organic materials such as wine. Because argon is heavier than oxygen, it can act as a protective layer for wine, preventing the very reactive oxygen from interacting with the wine and causing the nutty, Sherry-like flavors associated with oxidation. Winemakers sometimes use argon as a preservative for wines in storage, and it's the gas utilized by the popular Coravin and Enomatic wine-preservation systems.

Concerning its effects on how a wine's flavors and aromas might be perceived, argon's inert quality means that it will not react with wine and therefore has no effect on it (other than preventing it from reacting with oxygen). Argon won't cause any negative health effects, as long as you're not standing in a room filled entirely with argon, in which case you would suffocate: People need oxygen!

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