Sonoma County Wine Library
OAK IN WINEMAKING:
by Bo Simons
Books and Parts of Books
The barrel and the wine : scientific mastering of a
traditional know-how / Seguin Moreau Cooperage, Enology Institute of the
University of Bordeaux. [Napa, CA] : Seguin Moreau USA, Inc., 1994. 109 pages. Translation
of a French transcription of a seminar given by Seguin Moreau and the Enology Institute of
the University of Bordeaux II on March 11, 1993, under the general direction of Professor
Pascal Ribereau-Gayon. While not rigorously scientific, neither is it a puff piece for
Seguin Moreau French Oak barrels. There are papers included on the wood used in cooperage,
the importance of wood origin in wine barrels, mastering the heat intensity for toasting
barrels, preparation and maintenance of barrels, use of SO2 in aging white wines in
barrel, and the aging of red wine in barrels.
Brunet, Raymond. Manuel de tonnellerie. 2.
ed. Paris : J.-B. Bailliere, 1948. 284 pages. A standard work in French on barrel
making. It came out in two editions, this one and a first in 1925.
International Oak Symposium. International Oak Symposium
proceedings : June 1-2, 1993, San Francisco State University, Seven Hills Center /presented
by Practical Winery & Vineyard and the International Wine Academy. [San Rafael, CA] :
Practical Winery & Vineyard?], 1993. Proceedings of the International Oak and Cork
Symposium at San Francisco State University June 6-7, 1995. San Francisco State
University, Seven Hills Center /presented by Practical Winery & Vineyard and the
International Wine Academy. [San Rafael, CA] : Practical Winery & Vineyard?] , 1995.
Alan Young of the International Wine Academy together with Practical Winery and Vineyard
put on these two symposia, one on oak in winemaking, and the other on oak and cork in
winemaking. The presenters range from professors to winemakers to barrel brokers, and
their pieces are fairly technical.
Schahinger, Geoffrey, and Bryce Rankine. Cooperage for
winemakers : a manual on the construction, maintenance and use of oak barrels.
Adelaide : Ryan Publications, 1992. 112 p. This straightforward Australian work on
barrel-making for winemakers gives a balanced technical presentation on barrels and
contains a good recent bibliography.
Soyez, Jean Marc. Les ebenistes du vin
Jean-Marc Soyez ; photographies de Jacques Guillard et Jean-Daniel Sudres.
[France] : Editions de la Presqu'^ile, c1991. 110 pages. This lush photographic
study of the barrel making process in France, translated from the French, has great
pictures and book production values. The text is discursive and not technical. Both text
and pictures reflect the barrel making process from the perspective of Seguin Moreau, the
Kilby, Kenneth. The cooper and his trade.
London: J. Baker, . 192 pages. (reprinted : Fresno, Calif. : Linden Pub. Co.,
_____. The village cooper. Aylesbury : Shire Publications, 1977.
32 pages. Kilby, from a family of coopers in Bedfordshire, England, examines the
craft and the history of the trade of coopering, building round wooden containers for all
kinds of uses. He spends some time on the "wet coopering" as practiced by the
French for wine barrels.
Aiken, J. W. ; Noble, Ann C. Composition and
sensory properties of Cabernet Sauvignon wine aged in French versus American oak
barrels. Vitis. 1984. Volume 23. Pages
27-36. Cabernet aged in similarly coopered, lightly charred French and American Oak
barrels had increased titratable acidity and decreased pH values over the control
glass-aged wine, which was primarily due to acid extraction from wood. Extracted volatile
acids accounted for 22.5% and 27.5% of the increase in titratable acidity in American and
French barrels, respectively. The increase in total and nonflavonoid phenols extracted
from the barrels was greater in the French than the American barrels.
Appel, Ted. "Creating Casks of Flavor." Santa
Rosa Press Democrat. Business Section. June 23, 1996. Pages E1, E6. Appel
looks at Tonnellerie Radoux, a French cooperage firm which recently opened a barrel-making
facility in Rohnert Park, which joins three other North Bay branches of French cooperage
firms, and together employ 100 and produce 37,000 barrels.
Asher, Gerald. "Good Vibrations: wines of the
Rioja." Gourmet. Volume 54. Number 10. Pages 52-58, 236. In the
introduction to a discussion of Rioja wines and their masterful use of oak, Asher gives a
succinct appraisal of the correct and incorrect uses of oak in wine making: "Oak
barrels are not used - or shouldnt be - just to introduce a flavor of oak. They are
used - or should be - for an effect that becomes fully apparent only when the wine has
been aged for a while in bottle."
Baldwin, Gary. "The over-oaked wine myth: Practical
winemaking." Australian Grapegrower and Winemaker. Number 367.
July, 1994. Pages 22-23. Baldwin, a principal of Oenotec Consulting, argues that it
is important that a winery invest in new oak of good quality if they wish to make wine
that can be sold at the top end of the premium market.
Baltajiev, R.; Fartzov, K.; and Dimov, S. "The effects
of oak wood in Chardonnay wine production and maturation, as determined by high
performance liquid chromatography." Journal of Wine Research. Volume
5. Number 2. 1994. Pages 147-151. No differences were seen in chromatograms of wines
from various oak treatments in relation to control. Inspections indicated the use of
(micronized) oak chips during fermentation conferred the most favorable effects.
"Barrel Management: Six Short Articles on Barrel
Maintenance and Management." Vineyard and Winery Management. Volume
22. Number 1. 1January/February, 1996. includes : Davis, Rick. "Barrel cleaning
and maintenance." pages 27-28. Recht, Jacques. "Ageing and Fermentation in
French Oak." Pages 27+. Burton, Phil. "Repairing Leaks between Staves and
Headboards." Pages 29-30. Rogers, Bob. "Renewing Oak Flavors with Inserts, Oak
Chips and Remanufacturing." Pages 31-32. Work, Henry. "The Economics of
Oak." Pages 51+. Reiger, Ted. "Oak Barrel Alternatives." Pages 52+. These
suite of articles present a good practical overview of technical and money issues
associated with barrels, geared to specific products and practices.
Berger, Dan. "Oak is Trendy, Not Always Tasty." Los
Angeles Times. August 17, 1989. Food Section. Part 8. Page 38. Column 3. Berger,
writing at a time when overpoweringly oaky wines were the rage, strikes a cautionary note,
and examines American oak versus French oak.
Blazer, Richard M. "Wine Evaporation from Barrels."
Practical Winery and Vineyard. Volume 11. Number 5. January/February,
1991. Pages 20-22. Blazer, enologist for Sterling Vineyards designed an experiment
to quantify the differences in wine evaporation between an air conditioned, unheated,
unhumidified building (chai) and a cave.
Deves, Michael. "Demystifying oak." The
Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal. Volume 9. Number 3.
August, 1994. Deves reports on research done by Australian Wine Research Institute
seeking to determine whether it is the origin of the oak (in this case France vs.
Australia) or some other parameter such as variation in toasting or MLF.
Dollar, Tony. "How is American oak doing in the oak
choice race." Vineyard and Winery Management. Volume 23. Number 2.
March/April, 1997. Pages 30-39. Dollar looks at ten wineries (Arrowood, Bernadus,
Columbia Crest, Fetzer, Jarvis, Kendall-Jackson, Kenwood, Opus One, Silver Oak and ZD)
whether each uses French or American oak and why. While some still sneer at American oak
("We do not want the harshness or dill-like flavor that American oak
gives, says Dimitri Tchelistcheff at Jarvis") , some are finding the improved
American oak more than fulfills their expectations ("With American oak, we try
to give the wine a certain body and flavor. I call it mid-palate that rounds out the
says David Cofran, general manager of Silver Oak Cellars.")
Fish, Tim. "The wood and the wine." Santa Rosa
Press Democrat. April 8, 1998. Section D. Pages 1-2. Press Democrat
Staff Writer Tim Fish generally writes with knowledge on food and wine, and this article,
pitched at a general audience, provides a comfortable entry into the increasingly
important role barrels and wood flavors are having on wine. Fish attended an oak seminar
by Beaulieu and Seguin Moreaus Napa cooperage and reports back on the main points
concerning the marriage between oak and wine.
Francis, I. L.; Sefton, M.A.; Williams, P. J. "A Study
by sensory descriptive analysis of the effects of oak origin, seasoning and heating."
American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. Volume 43. Number 1. Pages
23-30. Aroma properties of model wine extracts of different oak woods were
determined by quantitative sensory descriptive analysis. American, Limousin, Vosges and
Troncais oaks were examined. Oaks were assessed as green timber or after seasoning for 12
months, either in their countries of origin or in Australia. Heated and unheated samples
were investigated. There was a major impact on aroma due to the heat treatment which
enhanced vanilla, caramel, buttery, nutty and cedar attributes of the oaks and decreased
raisin character. No other treatment showed such a marked effect, although each was
discernible. Green samples as a group had no dominant characters but shared a common spicy
attribute. Samples seasoned in Australia showed higher vanilla and caramel character.
There were a number of differences due to oak origin, with the clearest differences
between American samples and French woods as a group; American oaks showed generally less
intense aroma properties.
Fuller, Peter. "Global oak challenge for Australian
coopers." The Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal.
Volume 9. Number 3. August, 1994. Pages 173-174. Improvements in American oak
cooperage made by French coopers in California spurs the Aussie barrel industry to make a
product which will compete successfully.
_____. "Secrets in the wood: The use of oak in Australian wine
making."The Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal. Volume
9. Number 3. August, 1994. Pages 179-182. Fuller recounts the history and looks at
the future of oak in winemaking in Australia.
Gomez-Cordoves, C. "Correlation between flavonoids and
color in red wines aged in wood." American Journal of Enology and Viticulture.
Volume 46. Number 3. 1995. Pages 295-298. Principal component analysis and
discriminant analysis were applied to the data of anthocyanins, flavonols and color of red
wines aged in wood and collected from various wineries in the Ribera de Duero Appellation
of Origin region (Spain). Principal component analysis showed some differences in wines
from the various wineries considered when applied to the above mentioned total chemical
variables, and a good separation when applied to the data of single chemical parameters
and color. Discriminant analysis proved to differentiate best the wineries when applied to
the complete set of chemical variables and color.
Heimoff, Steve. "Winemakers over a Barrel."
Wine Business Monthly. Volume 1. Number 10. December, 1994. Pages 16-18.
Quick overview of wine industry practices regarding oak barrels and the substitutes for
Humphries, J. C; Jane, T. M.; Sefton, M.A. "The influence of yeast
fermentation on volatile oak extractives." Australian Grapegrower &
Winemaker. Number 343. July, 1992. Pages 17-18.
"In-House Winery Cooperages." Practical Winery
and Vineyard. Volume 13. Number 5. Pages 56-57. PWV reports
on the barrel restoration efforts at Fetzer Vineyards and on the staff cooper at the
Robert Mondavi Winery.
Kelly, Denis. "Small oak cooperages and California
wine." Vintage . Volume 10. Number 5. March, 1981. Pages 28-37.
Kelly traces the evolution of the use of small oak barrels in California, comparing
American to European oak. He also discusses the various wine styles using oak and how to
taste for oak.
Laszlavik, Marta. "Phenolic compounds in two Hungarian
red wines matured in Quercus robur and Quercus petrea barrels: HPLC analysis and diode
array detection." American Journal of Enology and Viticulture.
Volume 46. Number 1. 1995. Pages 67-74. Several Hungarian red wines were
investigated during barrel ageing (Q. petrea L. and Q. robur L. wood). Effects of
oxidative conditions and volume/surface ratio on wine quality were studied and antioxidant
and medicinal properties of the wines and their components evaluated. Extraction of
ellagic acid from oak barrels seems to be an important and characteristic process of wine
ageing. Ellagic acid, an anticarcinogen compound and astringent factor influencing the
wine taste could proved to be stable. Sample preparation, extraction of wine samples and
quantitation by HPLC and diode array detection are described in detail. Results of routine
wine analyses obtained at the start and at the end of the ageing process are presented.
Meyer, Justin. "Barrel Talk" Vineyard and
Winery Management. Volume 17. Number 6. November/December, 1991. Pages
33-34. The owner and winemaker for Silver Oak Cellars talks about using all new
French Oak with his premium cabernet. This article was taken from a presentation Meyer
gave at a Vineyard and Winery Management workshop on "Barrel Fermentation and
Aging," in Santa Rosa, CA, in May, 1991.
Moutounet, M.; et. al. "Analysis by HPLC of extractable
substances in oak wood. Application to a Chardonnay wine. " Sciences des Aliments.
Volume 9 . 1989. Pages 35-51. The investigation involved the study of 4
different extracts of oak wood, viz. oak chips with model wine and a Chardonnay wine, a
new barrel (225 l) with model wine for 12 months, and a new barrel with the same
Chardonnay wine for 12 months. 4 ellagitannins were found in addition to aromatic acids
and aldehydes. 12 of 27 components identified in the wine were attributed to oak
extraction. There were large differences in amount and distribution of extractives between
the different preparations.
Naudin, Rene. "A French view of Barrel Ageing." Wines
and Vines. November, 1990. Pages 48-55. Naudin, Director
of the Center for Enological Experiments at the Institute of the Vine and Wine at Beaune,
goes into the chemistry of what happens when wine is aged in oak. This article was
translated from the French by Donna Bernheim of Sonoma Cutrer Vineyards, and appeared
under the title "Aging Chardonnay in Oak Barrels" in Focus on Chardonnay.
(Organized and Sponsored by Sonoma Cutrer Vineyards. Beaune, France. July 23-26, 1990).
"Oak in Winemaking" Australian Grapegrower & Winemaker.
Each year in the July issue, this publication runs a series of articles under the title,
"Oak in Winemaking" Number 403. July, 1997. A Series of related
articles including: Swan, James S., et. al. "Oak and Chardonnay." Pages 41-50.
Baldwin, Gary. "Bungs, shives, lids, seals and other animals." Pages 51-52.
"Oak adjunct systems for the future. Page 53. Number 391. July, 1996. A
Series of related articles including: Royal, Tony. "French Oak - the resource
explained." Pages 11-12; Baldwin, Gary. "What do you do when it is empty?"
Pages 13-14; Schahinger, Geoff. "Oak 'seasoning' - What does it mean?" Pages
17-19; "Ageing of red wines in oak barrels." Page 20; Watson, Kevin. "Are
you looking for an alternative to French oak?" Pages 21-24. Number 379.
July, 1995. A Series of related articles including: Spillman, Phil. "Non-adhesion
of oak flavour compounds to micorbial cells." Pages 19-22. Chester, Jason. "What
size barrel should I purchase?" Page 23. Oak Barrels: revisiting old issues."
Pages 25-27. Number 367. July, 1994. A Series
of related articles including: Schahinger, Geoff. "You want to grow oak in
Australia?" Pages 17-18. Gregurek, Graham. "Distinct characteristics." Page
18. Spillman, Phil. "Making sense of the oak flavor description of a white
wine." Pages 19-21. Baldwin, Gary. "The over-oaked wine myth." Pages 22-23.
Chester, Jason. Re-heading of barrels - a cost-effective alternative for the
winemaker." Pages 24-25.
Pocock, K. F.; Sefton, M. A.; Williams, P. J. "Taste thresholds of
phenolic extracts of French and American oakwood: The influence of oak phenols on wine
flavor."American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. Volume
45. Number 4. 1994. Pages 429-434. Phenolic concentrations in
extracts from green and seasoned oak, and in both white wines and model wines stored in
barrels from the same woods, were measured by absorbance at 280 nm and by the
Folin-Ciocalteu reagent. Taste thresholds of the aroma-stripped extracts in a white wine
and in a model wine were determined by duo-trio difference testing. The sensory thresholds
of extracts containing aroma volatiles were much lower than those of the aroma-stripped
extracts, suggesting that it is the oak-derived volatiles that provide the primary sensory
cue that a wine has received oak-treatment.
Ross, Jordan P. "Rethinking American vs.
French oak." Wines and Vines. November, 1992.
Pages 44 - 48. Ross, the Metro-New York manager for Chateau
St. Jean, gives a non-technical overview of how oak affects wine flavor and the more
aggressive flavors and aromas imparted by American oak. He quotes several California
winemakers some who favor American and some who favor French oak. Among the former, Justin
Meyers of Silver Oak and Paul Draper of Ridge, maintain that American oak is getting
Robinson, Jancis. "Spreading the Gospel of Oak."
The Wine Spectator. Volume 16. Number 9. August 31, 1991. Page 20.
Robinson examines Germany as the last holdout in proclaiming the virtues of oak in
winemaking, and what is happening to change their minds.
Sefton, Mark A.; Francis, I. Leigh; Williams, Patrick J.
"Volatile norisoprenoid compounds as constituents of oak woods used in wine and
spirit maturation." Journal of Agricultural and food Chemistry.
Volume 38. Number 11. Pages 2045-2049.
Thirty-one norisoprenoid compounds were identified for the first time in model wine
extracts of American and Vosges oak woods. Only 1 compounds of this type, BETA-ionone, had
been previously reported an oak constituent.
Shulman, Eli. "Barrel Care." Practical Winery
and Vineyard. Volume 10. Number 5. March/April, 1990. Pages 41-42.
Shulman gives hints on breaking in and caring for barrels, aimed at amateur winemakers.
Singleton, Vernon L. "Maturation of wines and
spirits: Comparisons, facts and hypotheses." American Journal of Enology
and Viticulture. Volume 46. Number 1. 1995. Pages 98-115. A wide
review of the effects of maturation in oak barrels on the quality of wines and spirits is
presented (138 references). Differences between North American and European oak species in
composition ratios and variations between trees and within tree age and growth rate are
emphasized. Important factors of flavor effects of the oak are given. Large differences
may be also observed between wines and spirits concerning extraction of aroma compounds
from wood due to different EtOH concentrations. The following factors influencing oak
barrel effects on wine and spirits are discussed: wood choices, tree age and growth rate,
composition of barrel heart-wood, barrel size, cooperage considerations, effects of
evaporation, temperature and humidity during maturation of wine and spirits, effects of
different compounds of the oak on wine and spirit quality.
_____. "Some aspects of the wooden container as a factor in wine
maturation." Chemistry of Winemaking. Advances in Chemistry Series. Volume
137. (Washington: American Chemical Society, 1974.) Pages 254-277. The relationship
of modern wine styles to ageing wines in wooden barrels is described. The physical and
chemical characteristics of different woods lead to the conclusion that white oak is best
for wine cooperage. European cooperage oak samples had 161% of the extractable solids of
North American samples and 154% of the phenol/unit of extractable solids, but American oak
contributed more oak flavor to wine/unit of extract. Data are presented on the density and
extractable phenol content of summer and spring oak wood, characteristics of rapidly vs.
slowly grown oak, surface/unit vol. effects of container size and shape, variability among
trees in flavor and extract content, analysis of wood extract in wine, and depth of
penetration of wine into staves.
_____. "Wood and wine: the lasting marriage." American
Wine Society Journal. Volume 23. Number 3. Pages 94-96. Singleton
addresses his remarks in this article to a non-technical audience, giving a good general
overview on barrel aging in winemaking.
Swan, James S. "What's Best for Barrels: Air or
Kiln-Drying?" Wines and Vines. Volume 74. Number 7. July, 1993.
Pages 43-49. Swan, Operations Director for Penlands Scotch Whiskey Research,
examines not only air-drying versus kiln-drying, but also compares barrel woods by origin
(American, French, Spanish, Eastern European) and the introduction of solids into maturing
bourbon. His conclusions regarding air-drying is that it adds to the barrel
Towey, John P.; and Waterhouse, Andrew L.
"Barrel-to-barrel variation of volatile oak extractives in barrel-fermented
Chardonnay." American Journal of Enology and Viticulture.
Volume 47. Number 1. 1996. Pages 17-20. The concentrations of volatile oak
extractives (furfural, 5-methylfurfural, furfuryl alcohol, guaiacol,
cis-BETA-methyl-GAMMA-octalactone, and syringol) were determined in Chardonnay wines in 2
lots of French oak barrels and 2 of American oak, each containing 10 barrels. After 7
months of barrel aging, the coefficient of variation for individual extractives ranged
from 15 to 40 %. It was concluded that a similar experiment utilizing only 4 barrels per
lot would yield extract levels within 30 % of the barrel population while a 39 barrel lot
would be needed to be within 10 %.
_____;_____. "The Extraction of volatile compounds from French and
American oak barrels in Chardonnay during three successive vintages." American
Journal of Enology and Viticulture. Volume 47. Number 2. 1996. Pages
163-172. Fifteen barrel lots - 7 American, 6 French and 2 Hungarian - each
containing 10 barrels were used for the fermentation and sur lies ageing (7 months) of
Chardonnay wines in three consecutive vintages (1992, 1993, and 1994). Significant
differences in oak volatile concentrations between European and American oaks and between
years 1 and 2 of the experiment were observed.
_____;_____. How many barrels are needed in barrel trials? Practical
Winery and Vineyard. Volume 17. Number 5. January-February, 1997. Pages
45-48. Suppose you are a wineery considering changing coopers, and you want to know
how many barrels from each cooper to buy to get an adequate sample. This practical article
distills the research reported in the AJEV article (47:17-20) mentioned above.
_____;_____. "Oak lactone isomer ratio distinguishes between wines
fermented in American and French oak barrels." Journal of Agricultural and
Food Chemistry. 1994. Volume 42. Pages 1971-1974. By analyzing
the ratio of cis-/trans-lactone of oak in wines, it was shown that a procedure involving
solvent extraction, evaporation, and GC analysis allows to distinguish between the sources
of wood (American or European oak) of barrels used for fermenting white wine. However,
analytical procedures to determine the oak lactones ratio will have to be designed with an
equilibration time under specific conditions. It was concluded that this method could be
adapted with adequate consideration of the complex lactone/acid/ester equilibria and
equilibration kinetics to distinguish between wood source for barrels used to store other
Vicard, Jean. "The barrel beyond the year 2000." Australia
and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal. Volume 6. Number 1. February, 1991.
Pages 64, 84. Vicard of Tonnellerie Vicard, a Cognac barrel maker, talks about the
history of barrel making in France, asserting that nothing will change except the price.
Vivas, Nicolas; and Glories, Yves. "Research Note: Role
of oak wood ellagitannins in the oxidation process of red wines during aging." American
Journal of Enology and Viticulture. Volume 47. Number 1. 1996. Pages
103-107. Ellagitannins speed up to the condensation of procyanidins of red wines
while limiting degradation processes. Authors demonstrate oak wood ellagitannin oxidative
abilities compared with wine procyanidin oxidative ability as well as consequences on
color and phenolic composition. Structural modifications of polyphenols in red wines are
elucidated. Ellagitannins of oak wood are described as important oxidation regulators
capable to absorb the dissolved oxygen. They also facilitate the hydroperoxidation of wine
constituents. It is underlined that the reaction includes tannin/anthocyanin condensation
via acetaldehyde. By this limited oxidation of phenolics the development of brick-color is
prevented to a great extent and the crimson color of the wines is thus enhanced. By slower
oxidation during ageing in oak barrels astringency and the risk of coloring matter
precipitation may be prevented.
Walker, Larry. "American oak boom." Wines and
Vines . Volume 79. Number 8. August, 1998. Pages 38-45.In this
discursive article on the improvements in the quality and sales of American oak, Walker
attributes the improved quality to air drying, proper toasting, and sourcing the wood.
French vintners are even buying American oak, and there are facilities in Bordeaux making
barrels from American oak.
Work, Henry. "The economics of oak." Vineyard
and Winery Management. Volume . Number . January/February, 1996. Pages 51,
56. Work looks at the numbers associated with oak barrels and their alternatives:
oak chips, shaving, new heads, inserts. The cost can range from $2.44/liter with French
oak, to 2 cents/liter with oak chips.
Wine Library page