Scott Labs Oak and Tannin Choosing Guide
Applies to: Winemakers looking for assistance in selecting and comparing Scott Labs oak alternatives and tannins. This guide contains a downloadable pdf choosing chart that characterizes our oak and tannin products by winemaking stage and intended impact.Download
Selecting Oak Alternatives and Tannin for Success
The goal of using oak and tannins is to bring out the best that grapes have to offer from the moment they enter the winery. Oak and tannins can be used in all aspects of winemaking and their selection is determined by the state of the grapes, juice or wine, the grape variety and the intended wine style. Tannins and oak can affect structure and aroma, provide protection against oxidation and promote color stability. They can also be used to mask greenness and enhance fruit characters. Use of oak and tannins in aging and finishing are especially useful in wines that may be missing:
Fermentation tannins, which are generally a mix of condensed and ellagic tannins, combine with the anthocyanins to create optimal color stability. In protein-rich grape varieties, some of the gall nut derived tannins can help remove proteins. Tannins help protect juice from browning, especially in grapes affected by Botrytis and other rot. They act as an antioxidant and can inhibit laccase.
Structure and balance
Untoasted oak chips added during fermentation can reinforce the structure of the juice, bringing length and perceived sweetness to the finished wine. Toasted oak chips can minimize the impact of astringency due to underripe fruit. Fermentation tannins added early can help mask greenness and build structure in a wine that is lacking in tannin. Oak infusion products and finishing tannins can be used during cellaring and aging, or as last-minute wine additions to bring balance, complexity and structure.
The use of tannins and oak can positively impact aromas in almost all stages of winemaking. Tannins can reveal and enhance fruit aromas and mask some undesired green/herbaceous characters. The addition of oak infusions can affect the ripe fruit profiles and integrate wood and oak characters to balance the aromatic profile of the wine.