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Do commercial producers use an artificial oak flavoring?

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HankRearden

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I just completed my first kit and it contained a bag of oak chips which I used.
I can barely discern any oak flavor.

I've noticed a very strong oak taste in many $8 - 12 bottles.
I also understand that oak is used to cover off-flavors.
Since there are few ingredient labeling requirements for commercial wines, I'm wondering if they use some sort of artificial oak flavoring.
 

cmason1957

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They probably don't use artificial oak. If you would like more oak flavor, buy some oak cubes, staves, or spirals. Chips don't really add much oak flavor, they generally just improve mouth feel. And they give up what they have very quickly, like days.


I should probably add that we know the owners of a family run winery in Northern California. They make two brands (maybe more) the $12/bottle never sees the inside of an oak barrel. It gets the cubes, staves. The $25/bottle one is done in oak barrels.
 
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salcoco

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commercial wine makers must have there wine making formulas approved if artificial additions are made to there wine. in the majority of cases these addition will be required on the label. Increase oak is as stated, barrels , staves or cubes and time.
 

toneill

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I've just left Napa for various tours, something I do annually. I can tell you I have never toured a winery that used anything but oak Barrels and most of that French Oak. This also relates to reds as I don't have an interest in whites. I'm sure there must be some at a lower price point that use spirals, but I have never witnessed them.
 

Inverted

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Aging wines, and tweaking wines are two different things. If the wine is to be oaked, most certainly they will bulk age in oak barrels. That doesn't mean they won't tweak with oak powder, liquid smoke or liquid oak before bottling. There are no wine laws in the United States that require labeling of the use of artificial oak. To my knowledge no countries require that from a labeling standpoint. From a control standpoint, there are no laws controlling that in the United States. Other countries such as France, in specific regions may not allow the use of additions (Burgundy for example). You would be surprised at some of the high dollar Napa wines that may have some tweaking before bottling.
 

HankRearden

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Aging wines, and tweaking wines are two different things. If the wine is to be oaked, most certainly they will bulk age in oak barrels. That doesn't mean they won't tweak with oak powder, liquid smoke or liquid oak before bottling. There are no wine laws in the United States that require labeling of the use of artificial oak. To my knowledge no countries require that from a labeling standpoint. From a control standpoint, there are no laws controlling that in the United States. Other countries such as France, in specific regions may not allow the use of additions (Burgundy for example). You would be surprised at some of the high dollar Napa wines that may have some tweaking before bottling.
This sound like what I would expect. I know they're not required to label the use of chitin which is made from shellfish and many people are highly allergic. Also must be frustrating to vegans.
Labelling on alcohol seems to be very loose and oak flavor, in some wines, overpowering.
 

Spikedlemon

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This sound like what I would expect. I know they're not required to label the use of chitin which is made from shellfish and many people are highly allergic. Also must be frustrating to vegans.
Labelling on alcohol seems to be very loose and oak flavor, in some wines, overpowering.
Chitin is not allergenic. Its the proteins which have a histamine reaction which aren't present in chitin. I did the research into it as my wife has a shellfish allergy. And, besides, the chitin would either settle out to the bottom of the barrel (and not make it into the finished wine) or be filtered out.
 

HankRearden

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Chitin is not allergenic. Its the proteins which have a histamine reaction which aren't present in chitin. I did the research into it as my wife has a shellfish allergy. And, besides, the chitin would either settle out to the bottom of the barrel (and not make it into the finished wine) or be filtered out.
You're right.
I didn't realize how the protein is removed. Makes sense.
 

sour_grapes

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This sound like what I would expect. I know they're not required to label the use of chitin which is made from shellfish and many people are highly allergic. Also must be frustrating to vegans.
Labelling on alcohol seems to be very loose and oak flavor, in some wines, overpowering.
Actually, the use of adjuncts, etc., is very strictly controlled in the US: https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_treating_materials.shtml

In particular, the use of chitin from shellfish is not allowed. (Chitin from mushrooms, however, is allowed.)
 

Inverted

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This sound like what I would expect. I know they're not required to label the use of chitin which is made from shellfish and many people are highly allergic. Also must be frustrating to vegans.
Labelling on alcohol seems to be very loose and oak flavor, in some wines, overpowering.
Chemical use is different. Almost every chemical/mineral you use in wine is regulated.
 

NorCal

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Just as a follow up, I heard a good podcast that the super high volume, low cost reds are not aged in barrels, rather use oak chips in their huge SS containers. 2 Buck Chuck isn't seeing any French Oak barrel time.
 

Spikedlemon

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Just as a follow up, I heard a good podcast that the super high volume, low cost reds are not aged in barrels, rather use oak chips in their huge SS containers. 2 Buck Chuck isn't seeing any French Oak barrel time.
There was a furor in France a while back about 'oak products' being used rather than barrels and some wineries were fined for using chips. This was changed in 2006 where barrel alternatives (chips) are now permitted. I'm not one to argue with end results and judge provided it's all safe: chips, sticks, powder are, IMHO, all fair game.

It's quite possible that 2buck Chuck sees no real oak in any form: be it powder or other.
 

HankRearden

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As I was picking up juice from a commercial winery I noticed oak powder poured on the grapes as they were heading to the crusher.
 

sour_grapes

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I have no idea! I was just citing what the TTB (i.e., the Feds) allow to be used in this country. I don't know what, if anything, commercial producers use. Anyone know? Do they just use filtration?
 

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