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New Oak Alternatives

April 11th, 2017 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

As the range in sizes and shapes of barrel alternatives has expanded in recent years, the oak products also have improved in general quality. Skolnik offers a full line of stainless steel wine barrels. Suppliers have invested in better toasting techniques as well as research to understand how the extraction process with alternatives differs from that with barrels. This also has led to the creation of certain products with specific applications to help winemakers add a more precise amount of oak at just the right time. Wines & Vines contacted suppliers of oak barrel alternatives to learn about the latest products that give wine the aromas and structure of oak without having to spend time in barrel. In developing new additions for its tru/tan line of tannin products, Oak Solutions Group created a new, proprietary process to take its oak chips and turn them into a liquid extract that provides the same sensory and tannin impact as chips. The two new products, Aquadolce and Aquatexture, are based on a blend of ellagitannin and gallotannin compounds that the supplier says retain the “aromatic freshness and potency” of wood. Technical sales engineer Glenn Jeffries said the company’s new extraction process preserves the all-important wood aromas. “We wanted to provide a product that primarily preserved those aromatic components—the sensory profiles of chips,” he said. “These are completely, 100% oak-derived products.” The new extracts also are produced in a manner that doesn’t compromise the oak tannin compounds, he said, making them integrate quickly and seamlessly into wine. The liquid formulation also enables winemakers to make oak additions that provide a near-instant oak impact. “The idea is to give winemakers decision-making tools as close to bottling as possible,” he said. Aquatexture is designed to help balance fruit and structure in wines, while Aquadolce “immediately lifts the aromatic character of wine.” The products comply with the International Oenological Codex and are water soluble. Oak Solutions Group can provide test kits, and product volumes range from small doses for perking up neutral barrels to treating large-capacity storage tanks. Earlier this year, TonelerĂ­a Nacional added PureOak to its line of barrel-alternative products. The powder is derived from convection-toasted staves that are subjected to a water extraction process that the supplier claims retains all the major aromatics. PureOak is available in 500-gram bags and is intended as a finishing product. Pickering Winery Supply offers finishing powders and small chips produced with French oak by the Australian supplier SuberOak. The company also produces liquid oak tannins from French and American oak.

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