How many decisions does a winemaker make during the production of a single wine?
There are a multitude of decisions that need to be made before, during and post vintage in the production of a wine.
The decisions that need to be made are typically governed by the wine sales market, based on quality, quantity and price levels that are required to meet the market where the wine is intended to be sold.
In the production of these wines, about 50 percent will require some form of oak treatment to help stabilise colour, enhance aromas, build structure and enrich flavours, mature the wine through the micro-oxygenation qualities from the oak used and lift the sensorial qualities of the regional and varietal characters of the wine.
The decision on which oak type to use then opens a Pandora’s box of options.
“At Seguin Moreau we have thousands of options in oak barrels, oak vats and oak alternatives,” Graeme Little, general manager of sales and marketing at Seguin Moreau Australasia, says.
“As a winemaker in a previous role before joining Seguin Moreau 10 years ago, I had very little knowledge on which oak to use, how to get the best results out of the oak I was purchasing and what options where available in the market place.
“I was totally reliant on which cooperage visited my work place, and trusting the sales person. I still believe this is the case at most wineries. I now understand that oak is not just oak, and that a particular oak barrel or stave may work well with Shiraz in the Barossa Valley, but the same oak option will not produce the same result in McLaren Vale or the Hunter Valley.
“There are just too many variations within even a wine region that require a different oak option to be used. The variations within regions include soil, aspect, viticultural practices and climate variations where the fruit is grown, and these all result in a need for a different oak regime. The variation is even greater when we look between regions and again this shows a requirement for a different oak regime.”
Graeme says that when Seguin Moreau offers advice to winemakers, they need to know more about the wine to enable them to offer the best options. Some factors that need to be answered include: ripeness levels – baume/alcohol and fruit intensity; acidity levels – ph and TA levels; natural tannin structure; maturation requirements; budget Requirements; and end winemaking objectives.
“Our sales team can then help winemakers with their choices, ensuring that the barrels and oak options chosen are a perfect match for the specified enological objective,” Graeme says.
“The objective is to tailor an oak solution that meets the winemaking requirements in both quality and price. As with barrels, the use of staves in tanks needs to be tailored to suit the end objective. We now a have a base range of recipes to suit each winemaking region in Australia and New Zealand, using oak staves of various thicknesses, origins, and toast levels, with altered dose rates to match the winemaking styles and regional nuisances.
“We then work with the winemakers to tweak each recipe to individualise the oak regime specific to the winemaker’s requirements.”
Graeme says the answer relies on having the ability to offer a large range of oak origins and toast levels across both barrels and oak alternatives and to match these to the winemaking goals.
“At our new warehouse based in Adelaide, we can pack individual fan pack recipes specific to each winemaker to suit their individual winemaking requirements,” he says.
“This enables ‘The Oak Cru’ (the sales team at Seguin Moreau), the capacity to deliver the winemaking outcomes that are required by each winemaker throughout each region in Australia and New Zealand.”
- If you are after a tailored winemaking solution specific to your winemaking objectives, contact The Oak Cru at Seguin Moreau. Email Graeme on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0437 060 943.