Wine Talk

Snooth User: bikesnwine

how much wood, would a . . .

Posted by bikesnwine, Jul 9, 2009.

I was just on a website and looking at and Italian Red and in the details they used the phrase "Rational use of refining wood for 24 months". Is this, wood chips taking a bath in a barrel of wine? If so, how common is this?


Reply by GregT, Jul 9, 2009.

I don't know the wine so can't say exactly what they meant, but the phraseology suggests a bad translation.

Use of wood chips is very common. If you have a wine that cost you under $15 and you get a big oaky nose and flavor from it, chances are pretty good that it was treated with chips. Good barrels can cost nearly $1000 these days and you'll get 300 bottles. A bottle of wine that's on the shelves for $15 probably cost somewhere around $5 at the winery. Not many people would spend more on their oak than on their juice.

It doesn't mean that the use of oak chips is bad. But they're used simply to add flavor. The original purpose of oak was not to add flavor, which was a byproduct of barrel storage. And using chips doesn't give you the benefit of barrel aging.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jul 9, 2009.

That sounds like a poor translation to me. My guess is what they were trying to say was: intelligent use of wood barrels for 24 months helped soften the wine. There is no mention of the wood being new so I think Greg may be jumping to conclusions here. The use of the term "refining" leads me to believe they are talking about barrels here.

Now as far as pricing a NEW wood goes, well there he is spot and and lays out an example of why so many expensive wines are not too my taste, too oaky.

Reply by GregT, Jul 9, 2009.

Yeah I wasn't sure about the original question. I don't think that the winery suggested that they used chips and I think you're right about what it was supposed to say. Makes a lot more sense, not least because I can't think of many wineries that would trumpet their use of oak chips. Although that would be kind of interesting - "we use only the freshest chips!"

One day I want to make a wine using only water, powdered tannins, MegaPurple, oak chips, and flavorings but no actual grapes. I wonder how close we could get to something that resembled real wine.

Reply by h2w4, Jul 10, 2009.

I've done the "artificial wine" thing using pretty much everything you've listed (and a couple of other things like amino acids and was for a research project in college regarding sulfide production), and I can verify it nether tastes nor smells anything like's pretty gross actually

Reply by dmcker, Jul 10, 2009.

You could always try to wrangle a return to the days of 'winecooler' popularity, GregT. Whattya think, h2w4? Sure those couldn't be manufactured out of anything but grapes? Now if we could only get our hands on the Gallo recipes from back in the day...

Reply by h2w4, Jul 10, 2009.

I've found that grape soda plus some MD 20/20 makes for a nearly perfect match for a sparkling white zin...kidding of course

Reply by Ballstein, Jul 11, 2009.

Splenda, cheap Pinot Grigio, and grenadine- the perfect White Zin

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