World Cooperage General Manager, Elizabeth Van Emst, recently popped by La Crema to interview head winemaker, Craig McAllister, on his barrel program and favorite World Cooperage profile.
At World Cooperage, we love making wine barrels. But even more, we love partnering with winemakers around the globe to share our cooperage knowledge and industry experience, as we aim to provide comprehensive program solutions for winemakers that demand a variety of consistent options.
The objective is to determine if the new Barrel Profiling technology improves consistency and provides flavor differences between four different toasting regimes.
Five French oak profiles that performed well with other varietals and had specific characteristics to complement Pinot noir wines were selected.
In the past, barrel evaluation was not always conducted scientifically. This research takes barrel evaluation to the next level by tying sensory to oak chemistry, a method validated through sensory trials with active production winemakers (not students or panelists). Winemakers should use this sensory method as a guide to do their own barrel evaluations in-house.
There are strongly held views on how to prepare a barrel for filling. The use of water is strongly opposed by some, while others enthusiastically adopt it. Some steam the barrel for three to four minutes, while others quick-rinse with cold water. Certain views take cost into consideration as well as flavor consequences. Each winery’s environment, such as water availability and labor cost, also weighs on the method used.
Four new barrel profiles were developed with the aim of producing toastier versions of well established European style barrels. These include water bent as well as conventional fire toasted barrels.
An investigation into the use of larger barrels was conducted on a plant scale by Sebastiani Vineyards. Over 50 barrels were used. Twenty barrels were the larger 65 gallon barrels and 38 barrels were the standard 59 gallon barrels.
Different cooperage practices exist. In this trial stave bending techniques were compared and contrasted.
The objective is to compare new, custom profiles and commercial profiles and to create a special toasting profile for Rodney Strong Pinot noir wines.