Oak Beans and Oak Chips
StaVin's oak beans are made with three year air dried American oak from Missouri, 2 year air dried French oak from the center of France (Cognac) and two year seasoned European oak from Hungary.
The oak they select matches the same quality requirements as staves which are used for premium wine barrels. The StaVin oak bean is a one-of-a-kind invention that is unparalleled in the industry today.
Staves are traditionally fire toasted using methods coopers have perfected over the centuries. Experienced production personnel pay careful attention to thermal parameters, ensuring full heat penetration for specific toast levels.
Once toasted, a percentage of staves go into full stave systems for barrels and tanks, while others are processed by a proprietary bean machine. This machine cuts the staves into beans and sends them through a stainless mesh to eliminate any excess particles.
The minimum recommended contact time for barrel quality extraction is eight weeks, using a ratio of 1 to 2 pounds per sixty gallons (2 - 2.6 oz per 5 gallons) of wine. The StaVin oak bean has a useful life of eight to ten months, at which time it is fully extracted.
The oak bean, which is more dense than oak chips or oak powder, produces less phenolics- giving your wine more rounded, complex flavors which will enhance your wines. We are proud to be a distributor of Stavin Oak Beans.
Oak chips impart body and complexity to wine much as an oak barrel does and is not just a flavoring agent for wine.
3 Methods for the use of oak chips:
1) Add oak chips to the primary fermenter for 'barrel fermented' flavor. Add 1 oz (5 tablespoons) of loose chips per gallon.
2) For 'oak barrel aged wine', add 1 oz (5 tablespoons) of loose chips per gallon to the secondary fermenter. Add chips directly to the wine without boiling the chips. Repeat until desired flavor is achieved.
3) A second method for 'oak barrel aged wine' - add 1 oz of chips per gallon of wine in a mesh bag, which is suspended in the secondary fermenter. The use of gauze or nylon mesh allows for easy removal of the chips but more contact time may be required.
Time of exposure: Maximum oak chip flavor will be imparted to wine within one week of exposure. However, there are other components which improve the body of the wine that require longer exposure to chips. We recommend at least 2 months exposure to chips in the secondary fermenter to impart the most complex barrel-like flavor and body.
Other Recommendations: We recommend medium toast chips for addition of body and flavors more consistent with California, French and Italian wines. For wines that need lighter oak, we recommend using less of the medium toast chips (1 tablespoon per 5 gallons) or a lighter toasted chip. The differences between French, Hungarian and American oak chips are subtle and will depend on the grape variety used. In general, all vinifera grape wines and all white French-American hybrid wines will benefit from exposure to these oak chips. In our experience, red French-American hybrid wines require experimentation with each grape variety to determine the potential of aging with Medium Toast chips.