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Wine not taking oak

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baron4406

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I had a problem last year with my wine not taking any oak. Is it possible my wine storage is too cold? It was 60-65 degrees which is supposed to be ideal. I also have a problem with my wines not degassing even after they sit for a year. Again that might be due to the wine being too cold. I'm tacking the degassing problem with an All-In-One wine pump. However this oaking issue has me stumped. I never had a problem oaking my wine before. Ideas? BTW I usually use spirals but I tried everything last year from cubes to chips.
 

Johny99

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I don't think it is temperature as yours looks good and about what I have. Could it be that your other flavors and aromas are strong enough and similar enough to be masking the oak?
 

Tnuscan

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What is your humidity level, and do you keep it stable?
 

ceeaton

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I had a problem last year with my wine not taking any oak. Is it possible my wine storage is too cold? It was 60-65 degrees which is supposed to be ideal. I also have a problem with my wines not degassing even after they sit for a year. Again that might be due to the wine being too cold. I'm tacking the degassing problem with an All-In-One wine pump. However this oaking issue has me stumped. I never had a problem oaking my wine before. Ideas? BTW I usually use spirals but I tried everything last year from cubes to chips.
Your temperature is definitely the reason for the gas issue. Even when using the AIO get that temperature up above 70*F or higher is possible.

What varietals are you trying to oak? How long were you leaving the spirals in the wine when it wasn't "taking"?
 

baron4406

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I tried oaking blueberry, mixed black, and the Sangiovese. My oaked blueberry is a big hit but this year it was bland. I leave the spirals in for 6 weeks like you are supposed to. This year I may leave it in longer. I'm stumped.
 

Tnuscan

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I tried oaking blueberry, mixed black, and the Sangiovese. My oaked blueberry is a big hit but this year it was bland. I leave the spirals in for 6 weeks like you are supposed to. This year I may leave it in longer. I'm stumped.
The wine being bland may be a pH issue (maybe too high).? As ceeaton said the temps being warmer helps on degassing. Some folks seem to have trouble either way.
 

Julie

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What oak are you using?
 

baron4406

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American white oak cubes, spirals and chips. This year I'm trying french oak chips and Hungarian cubes.
 

Julie

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The Hungarian goes well with fruit wines. I'm wondering if it is more the the kind of oak you are using.
 

Tnuscan

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It is strange if your not noticing any oak, if it's American and it's a new spiral.
If it's an old spiral that could be the issue. And if it's sitting on a concrete floor that might be the reason..??
 

baron4406

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Up until now I've only used american oak spirals. Every year my blueberry was awesome until last year. It was like you flicked off a switch. Amazing
 

AKsarben

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Use new oak beans at 2g/l and leave them in for at least 90 days for better extraction. At the winery I order bags of oak beans from Stavin. They are a bit pricey for home winemaking but the best. If you are using "used" oak from last year that won't do.
 

baron4406

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I never reuse oak. This year I'm not gonna bottle unless they are oaked properly, I have some French oak cubes here, I may add them soon since I'm gonna plan on bottling on May. I have 5 batches of Italian wine that will be ready in the fall so I'm gonna order those oak beans for them. They are about $35/pound from More Wine I don't mind paying a little extra for quality
 
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baron4406

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Aksarben I took your advice and got a pound of StaVin's med+ cubes. I put them in 7 batches of Italian/California wines at 2.0oz and 2.5 oz. Interesting results. If a wine was all grapes, it didn't take on any flavor after 3 months @ 2.5oz. 3 wines that were just juice started smelling like a rubbery/campfire after 2 months. so I racked them off the cubes. 3 other wines I let go another month and they have started to pick up a burned/rubbery smell like the other. At no point did any of then taste "oaked". I'm not sure if its the char level or what. I'll bottle all these wines in a few months then let them bottle age for another year which will fade out that flavor.
So I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this year's wines. I can't seem to get it right, I either get no oak flavor or a mass of very unpleasant flavors.
I might try a very light oak dose for a long time like 1oz for 6 months or more. I just can't understand why its gotten so hard to oak anything.
Also I have old barrel staves that have been sitting outside for 3 years. I might sand down some pieces and try them in some of my fruit wine. Why not? Literally nothing has worked
 

AKsarben

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What oak beans from Stavin did you get? There is Hungarian, light, medium, heavy toast; French lt, med., heavy. and American oak, same thing. Then there is American un-charred, which is just natural splinters, pieces and small chunks of natural white oak. They are all different and will produce different results. You want oak taste, American White Oak un-toasted is what you are looking for.

Also what was the rate? 2 oz and 2.5 oz for what volume? Also you said " If a wine was all grapes, it didn't take on any flavor after 3 months @ 2.5oz. 3 wines that were just juice started smelling like a rubbery/campfire after 2 months." I'm confused. Wine is wine and never juice. It is either fermented to make alcohol, or it is not.

That "burnt rubber" is a sign of sulfur and yeast breakdown and creating hydrogen sulfide. A clean pre 1980 penny in a gallon of wine JUST after fermentation, can do wonders to bind up mercaptans produced during the fermentation, and sitting on lees. Don't leave it it too long. A couple of days and the rack of. At a winery we use specific amounts of 10% Copper Sulfate solution to accomplish this. Usually at the rate of 0..2 ppm for whites up to 0.4ppm for reds. That is not much on a 100 gallon batch of wine. But it prevents off odors, such as "burnt rubber" from becoming pronounced during ageing and bottling. That odor is not from the oak cubes, it is from a wine that has reductive properties, and believe it or not, not enough oxygen during racking. BUT remember, the oxidation during racking is to clear and allow just the right amount of O2 into the wine to counter the addtion of KMBS Potassium MetaBiSulfite. aka campden tablets, or ground up KMBS.
 

baron4406

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Thanks for responding! I got mine from More Wine and all they have in American Oak is the Med+. I've done some research and I've read heavier toasts give a "campfire" smell/taste. The rate was 2.0oz to 2.5oz per 5 gallon batch. Even though this was "new barrel" strength according to More Wine, there is still no oakiness-just the smoky/burned smell. However what you say really made me think, I've now got this smell/taste from French and Hungarian oak also. So it looks like you are right. However i now have a vacuum racking system that is popular here, is it possible this is too "clean"? I'm going to look at 10% copper sulfate dosing also. Finally I had a batch of Sangiovese two years ago that had this smell bad. We drank most of it but I put aside 4 bottles to see what another year of aging would do. We just drank one of those bottles and wow was it good-no hint of that smoky/burned flavor. So age will get rid of that too it seems. Would you recommend I splash rack from now on? Again thank you.
Also I meant some of the wine was from juice and some was from grapes. Sorry for the confusion
 
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baron4406

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Also and this is very important, this smell has only showed up when I've tried to oak a red grape wine. What about oaking would bring this smell out?
 

LangdonP

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I had the same problem with degassing wines even after several years in the bottle until I got the same pump you have. If you use it for each racking operation your wine will be truly still by the time you are ready to bottle.
Let us know if you figure out your oak issue!
 

baron4406

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Well I needed to treat most of my wine I was oaking with copper sulfate so most are off the Stavin oak. However 3 batches were ok and didn't need a copper sulfate treatment. One batch, an all-grape Mixed Black, was on 2.5oz("full barrel strength" according to Stavin)cubes for 4 months. I just racked it off the oak and even after 4 months-there is zero oak flavor and only a slight smell of oak. I have two more batches on the Stavin cubes I'll let them go another month then i will need these carboys so they will be bottled.
So that expensive oak experiment failed. Bummer. I have old oak barrel staves from a whiskey barrel I was using for "spirits" so what I'm gonna do it sand off all the char, re-toast it in a toaster oven- then give that a shot. I'm willing to try anything here.
 
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