Evaluating alternatives to barrel maturation
Traditional barrel maturation is expensive as a consequence of high barrel costs, labour to manage barrels and the holding of wine inventories. Barrel maturation simultaneously achieves extraction of volatile and non-volatile oak components, wine concentration by evaporation, and gentle oxidation. This project will quantify these fundamental underlying processes and evaluate technologies that can achieve similar results at lower costs on a large scale, potentially without the use of oak. Decoupling the fundamental underlying process might also allow for improved product control. One area of focus in conjunction with Projects 3.1.3 and 3.3.6 will be an investigation of reports of premature ageing and colour instability arising from the use of micro-oxidation/staves technologies.