Adding oak to concentrate Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio Blend

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Dec 4, 2019
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I am started a concentrate blend of Chardonnay and pinot Grigio. the directions have asked to add the oak chips right at the beginning before the yeast.
To be blunt, spouse and I are not fans of a heavy oak taste in wine but I have read that oak is an internal part in the development of a chardonnay wine.
I am wondering because this is a blended wine can I skip the oak or cut back. Just completed a concentrate of Pinot Noir and cut back on the oak by 3/4. Even though it is in the still in the carboy (no hurray to bottle) it taste is excellent.
Any insight would be great.

Thank you
Nov 5, 2006
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Raleigh, NC, USA
Fermentation oak doesn't impart much flavor -- it provides "sacrificial tannin", meaning that the tannin that will precipitate post-fermentation will be oak tannin, preserving the preferred grape tannin (there are many kinds of tannin). This will give the wine more body and structure. In red wines, fermentation oak helps stabilize color. Note that fermentation oak is in the wine only for the fermentation period, a week or so. It is discarded after the first racking.

In contrast, aging oak (added post-fermentation) does impart flavor, and increases the tannin. Given your tastes, you don't want to add aging oak.

How much oak chips were provided? You can use any amount you want, so cutting back on oak is totally your choice. All that matters is that you are happy with the outcome.

One thing to consider is that with aging oak, you can add more oak and simply bulk age the wine longer. Fermentation oak doesn't have that luxury as the period is short.

Next kit, reconstitute the kit to 23 liters, then divide into 2 fermentation buckets. Add 1/2 the fermentation oak to one, and 1/4 to the other. This allows you to directly compare the outcome to get a personal understanding of the differences. We can get a lot of information regarding winemaking from others, but in the end, we have to drink the wine to truly understand it (not that I'm complaining!).