Why We Age Wine in Oak Barrels

After fermentation, wine is racked several times. The wine is a bit young at this point (sometimes called “green”) and can require aging for an extended period. This aging is often done in oak barrels which slowly improves the developing wine over time.

Aging wine in a wood barrel essentially does two things: it imparts the character of the oak into the wine, and it starts a very slow concentration of the wine as water evaporates through pores in the wood.

Wine in the barrel goes through many complex chemical changes. Oak barrel aging imparts a greater complexity to the wine while softening any harsh tannins present at the end of fermentation.  Many subtle flavors are brought out during aging.

Different types of oak (French, Hungarian and American being the most widely used) give varying levels of flavor to the wine. The effect of specific wood on different wines is the subject of great discussion and experimentation among wine makers throughout the world.

Oak Aging at North Vines

Here at North Vines, our fleet of oak barrels is rarely empty. Most of our customers know the benefits of oak barrel aging and take advantage of it as often as possible.

In the spring and autumn, we run “barrel-aging” projects where we age multiple batches of selected wines in our largest (40 gallon) oak barrels. After 6 months, those wines are ready to be bottled and taken home by you.

Ask about joining our seasonal “barrel project” mailing list or about our mini-barrels for year round use.