May 312013

It is a well-known fact that good quality wine is always matured in barrels made of oak. However, one who is not quite aware of the benefits of this process or rather not acquainted with the wine making at all, might ask why only oak barrels?

As a matter of fact, wine oak barrels have been used for centuries by the wine makers to age the wine. Once the fermentation part is done with, the wines are racked so that the heavier lees can be removed. When the wine is young it takes some time to settle down as it is raw, harsh and ‘green.’ Several neutral containers like those made of cement vat, stainless steel, large casks and others. Apart from these a type of non-neutral container, i.e. the wooden barrel is used to develop wine.

Fermented Wine Oak Barrels

Wine Oak Barrels Racked Together

The Two Fundamentals

These oak barrels are primarily used for storage purposes and also to ferment the wine. The kind of wood used and the technique followed to develop these barrels depend upon the barrel company and thus varies from one company to the other. There are two basic fundamentals behind aging wine in oak barrels. They are,

1. Firstly, it helps in the micro-oxidation of the wine and also in its maturing. The micro-oxidation process involves certain phenol compounds present in the wine to polymerize partly and then precipitate. The prominent red tinge in red wine is a result of this slow oxidation. It also reduces the astringent and increases the stability.

2. Secondly, it helps in adding flavors of the oak and phenols to the liquid. As a result the wine gets even more complex. Red wine and white wine is different from several aspects, two of them are the quality of the different grape aromas along with the oak flavors.

One must remember that keeping wine barrels in a prime condition is not at all an easy task. Since, sanitizing them is a tough task is there is no storage solution. Such a condition might lead to leaks in the future.

Several Types of Oaks Used

In normal cases, American and European oak trees, especially Hungarian and French are used to prepare the wooden barrels. Speaking of the oak aroma, the American ones have it heavier and the phenol is harsher than European barrels, especially the French ones. Any experienced wine taster will be able to distinguish the wine aged in an American barrel than that aged in a French barrel.


Thus, the unique flavor and texture of a wine depends upon the oak barrels share with the wine, to a great extent, and hence depends upon the techniques followed to prepare the barrels. Let us have a look at some of the most common variables available in the making procedure,

• French oak (Quercus Robur)
• American oak (Quercus Alba)
• Hand-split
• Sawn
• Kiln drying
• Air-drying
• Use of boiling water
• Use of steam
• Use of natural gas
• Use of wood fire

The major wine producers and barrel makers differ in their opinions regarding which is the best procedure to make a barrel.

Author’s Bio

Myke Thomas is a proficient author who writes quality articles on topics such as Nuts in bulk. He is a vastly experienced author who has been penning thoroughly informative articles for decades. His articles have been very helpful for the readers.

  One Response to “Fermented Wine Oak Barrels”

  1. Nice post. Oak Barrels are useful as they are small in size and easy to maintain. Oak barrels are available for aging.

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