Thanks for the help guys!
I also spoke to a LD Carlson rep yesterday and below is the conversation via email.
I was reaching out to assist you with your question on the oak chips. It is not necessary for you to sanitize the oak chips before adding them to the secondary. The alcohol content of the wine will act as a sanitizer and assist with sterilization of the chips. Also, the Metabisulfite that is added in in the wine making process will assist with this as well.
Sanitizing the chips before adding them may affect the potency off the oak flavor and aroma presented by these chips, resulting in the need to use more than you would have originally to achieve desired flavor/aroma.
One other quick question, what is the recommended amount of chips to add per gallon? I have a 6 gallon batch going currently. Thanks.
Good question. That one varies depending on what kind of wine it is. Another playing factor would be how intense you would like the flavor/aroma to be. The starting recommendation for the American Oak chips would be about 1-1 ½ cups for white wines and 2 – 3 cups for red wines, but ultimately user discretion. The French oak is recommended to start at ½ cup and add to taste. Just remember that you can always add more but you can’t take it out.
How long should I leave it in the wine?
It depends—on the wine, on the vintner, and the oak itself. But in general, red wines tend to be aged longer in oak than white wines. At the end of the day, it falls back to user discretion. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer.
Understood. Just curious if at the 1/2 cup rate in 6 gallons of red, how long would it take to get the full effect of the wood chips. I would assume after a certain amount of time you would not be able to gain anymore flavoring from the wood, right?
That is correct. I have not used the oak chips personally, so I would just recommend to taste it once every couple of days and go by preference.