Oechsle scale


Oechsle scale

The Oechsle Scale is a hydrometer scale measuring the density of grape must[1], which is an indication of grape ripeness and sugar content used in wine-making. It is named for Ferdinand Oechsle (1774-1852) and it is widely used in the German, Swiss and Luxembourgish wine-making industries. On the Oechsle scale, one degree Oechsle (° Oe) corresponds to one gram of the difference between the mass of one litre of must at 20 °C and 1 kg (the mass of 1 litre of water). For example, must with a specific mass of 1084 grams per litre has 84° Oe.

Contents

Overview

The mass difference between equivalent volumes of must and water is almost entirely due to the dissolved sugar in the must. Since the alcohol in wine is produced by fermentation of the sugar, the Oechsle scale is used to predict the maximal possible alcohol content of the finished wine. This measure is commonly used to select when to harvest grapes. In the vineyard, the must density is usually measured by using a refractometer by crushing a few grapes between the fingers and letting the must drip onto the glass of the refractometer. In countries using the Oechsle scale, the refractometer will be calibrated in Oechsle degrees, but is an indirect measure, since the refractometer actually measures the refractive index of the grape must.

Wine classification

The Oechsle scale forms the basis of most of the German wine classification. In the highest quality category, Prädikatswein (formerly known as Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, QmP), the wine is assigned a Prädikat based on the Oechsle reading of the must. The regulations set out minimum Oechsle readings for each Prädikat, which depend on wine-growing regions and grape variety[2]:

Kabinett - 67-82 °Oe
Spätlese - 76-90 °Oe
Auslese - 83-100 °Oe
Beerenauslese and Eiswein - 110-128° Oe (Eiswein is made by late harvesting grapes after they have frozen on the vine and not necessarily affected by noble rot, botrytis, which is the case with Beerenauslese)
Trockenbeerenauslese - 150-154 °Oe (affected by botrytis)

The sugar content indicated by the Oechsle scale only refers to the unfermented grape must, never to the finished wine.

Other scales

In Austria the Klosterneuburger Mostwaage (KMW) scale is used. The scale is divided into Klosterneuburger Zuckergrade (°KMW), and very similar to the Oechsle scale (1° KMW =~ 5° Oe). However, the KMW measures the exact sugar content of the must.

The Baumé scale is occasionally used in France[3] and by U.S. brewers, and in the New World the Brix scale is used to describe the readings of a refractometer when measuring the sugar content of a given sample. All of these methods are similar and the differences are more cultural than significant, but all are equally valid ways to measure the density of grape must and other sugar based liquids.

The Normalizovaný Muštomer (°NM) measures kg of sugar in 100 l of must and is used in Czech Republic and Slovakia.

See also

References

  1. ^ By a slight abuse of physical terminology one says in German that the Mostgewicht (must weight) is measured rather than the must's density.
  2. ^ Deutsches Weininstitut: Must weights, accessed on March 26, 2009
  3. ^ Since the exclusion of degree Baumé from legal units in France by Decree No. 61-501 of 3 May 1961 relating to units of measurement and control of measuring instruments, the French regulation refers to sugars content expressed in grams per litre.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Oechsle — or Öchsle is a name of Germanic origin. The name may refer to: Ferdinand Oechsle (1774–1852), German mechanical workshop owner, goldsmith, and inventor; eponym of the Oechsle scale Gerhard Öchsle (contemporary), West German Olympic bobsledder… …   Wikipedia

  • Ferdinand Oechsle — Christian Ferdinand Oechsle (December 26, 1774 – March 17, 1852) was a German mechanical workshop owner, goldsmith and inventor.[1] He is most noted for developing a method for measuring the must weight of the grape must in winemaking. The… …   Wikipedia

  • Échelle Oechsle — L échelle Oechsle permet de comparer la densité du moût de raisin, composé en majeures parties d eau et de sucres (glucose et fructose), à celle de l eau. Elle a été inventée par Ferdinand Oechsle (de) (1774 1852), un ingénieur mécanicien de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sweetness of wine — A half bottle of Sauternes from Château d Yquem, which produces one of the world s most famous and expensive sweet wines. The subjective sweetness of a wine is determined by the interaction of several factors, including the amount of sugar in the …   Wikipedia

  • German wine classification — Bottles from two of Germany s top producers showing the various pieces of information that can be found on a German wine label. The bottle on the left displays information in the following order: Producer (Dr. Loosen) vintage village (Bernkastel) …   Wikipedia

  • Hydrometer — Not to be confused with Hygrometer. Hydrometer from Practical Physics Schematic drawing of a hydrometer. The lower the densi …   Wikipedia

  • Brix — For other uses, see Brix (disambiguation). Degrees Brix (symbol °Bx) is the sugar content of an aqueous solution. One degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution and represents the strength of the solution as percentage by weight (% …   Wikipedia

  • Oe — or OE may refer to: Œ or œ, a ligature of o and e used in the modern French and medieval Latin alphabets Oe (digraph) Open mid front rounded vowel or œ Ö Ø Ө, a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet Ōe, Yamagata, a town of Japan Oe District, Tokushima …   Wikipedia

  • German wine — Steep vineyards on Rüdesheimer Berg overlooking river Rhine. These vineyards are located in the southwestern part of the region Rheingau at a bend in the river. These vineyards are planted with Riesling grapes, with some Spätburgunder (Pinot… …   Wikipedia

  • Ice wine — Grapes for ice wine, still frozen on the vine Ice wine (or icewine; German Eiswein) is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.