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What's the practical difference between oak chips and other oak alternatives? For example, oak staves, dust, and extracts?


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Kinnek Knowledge Team

From a practical standpoint, each of these ways of oaking a wine result in differences in flavor, required aging time, and cleanliness of the wine. Oak chips are a simple way to add flavor during the aging process. While the surface area of the oak chips exposed to wine is less than that of oak dust, it is superior than only aging the wine in a barrel. Additionally, oak chips can be baked, soaked, or dried in order to add unique flavors to the wine. Oak staves are essentially sticks which are similar in function to oak chips, but are more durable over time. Oak dust is typically used during the fermentation process rather than during aging. It provides a basic oak flavor to the wine but some say it can make the racking process more difficult and caution should be used as it is very easy to overuse oak dust and extract, which will ruin the wine’s flavor.

All of these methods are typically used in situations where oak barrels may not be practical or if it is important to add oak flavor in a timely manner.

What do members of our community prefer? Has anyone had good or bad experiences with these oak products?

Nov 27, 2013

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