Wine Barrels Part 3
Welcome to Vine to Wine, this is your host Linda Moran. Today is part three of our research into the wood barrel as the vessel of choice for storing wine.
As we have discussed oak became the wood of choice for the making of wine barrels for its density and the flavors it imparts to the wine. Once the oak barrel is shaped and before the tops and bottom heads are attached the barrel is toasted. This means the barrel is turned over a fire and the interior portion of the barrel is toasted just like a marshmallow. The science which has gone into determining how to evenly and consistently toast a barrel has really been staggering. Infrared sensors and computers and the whole works are involved in creating different toast profiles and custom toasting of barrels to meet a winery specification. All of this to in turn create differing flavor profiles in the wine which is stored in the barrel. This is all quite dramatic and the cost of producing barrels is very high. This is in turn passed on to us the consumer. So as you can imagine wineries look for all different ways to impart the flavors of barrel aging without having to buy the barrels. These include thing like oak staves that are inserted into the tanks and oak chips and powders used during fermentation. I am betting that technology will move to the point here we can hardly tell the difference. Or maybe not. Remember to send your wine questions to Linda at vine to wine dot net and thank you for joining me on today’s Vine to Wine.