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Oak Add Ins™ - Nadalié Oak Alternatives


Understanding the Chemistry of Oak Add Ins™ - Frequently Asked Questions


What difference does toasting on oak fire make?

The Nadalie Oak Add Ins are always cut first and than toasted in rolling drums over an oak fire. Nadalie unique toasting method allows the products to be toasted "all the way through" without putting the wood in direct contact with smoke. When the toasted oak is placed in contact with wine, the first extraction is primarily from the surface and will provide rich toasted flavors. The second extraction penetrates deeper into the wood releasing more complex flavors. We believe that taking the time to toast over an oak fire, as we have always done in the tradition of our barrel toasting, allows full extraction of complex aroma and flavor compounds.

If I need to get oak flavors in a short time, what should I do?

To achieve rapid oak flavor in several weeks, we recommend high ratios of oak chips. In a short amount of time, you will definitely achieve a "bang for the buck". You can expect intense vanilla flavors or spice and clove aromas depending on the toasting level you choose. However, the tannins are definitely going to add to bottle complexities. They will probably start their integration in the bottle. The one thing you can expect is a gradual softening of the tannins after bottling!

What are the differences between cubes, dominoes and blocks?

They look almost the same, they all are small pieces of oak, but… cubes and dominoes will fit through a bung hole and could therefore be used in either neutral barrels or tanks. Blocks are designed to be used in infusion bags. The smaller the piece of wood is, the more labor intensive it is to manufacture. These small differences in production are reasons for the difference in prices and flavors which might push you into using one or the other! Remember also that if you want to entertain, dominoes are always a good resource!

How many times can I reuse products?

This depends on the product and also the amount of extraction you are looking for. If you want full extraction and use a small dosage of any type of product, the best way is to leave the product in as much time as possible. This will give time for the integration process to take place.
If you need a quick turnover of your wines, you can reuse most products up to four times. The bigger the piece of wood, the longer you can reuse it. The first use would be quicker and than the last, much longer. In the case of chips, because the pieces are fairly small, the maximum number of soaking would be around 3 times even with short periods of time (5 days to 2 weeks). For staves, you could do three rounds of 2, 4 and then 6 months.

Should I make a high concentration of oak extract and blend it afterwards into the wine?

The oak extract is not the best way to allow the integration of the oak into the wine. However, if you know you are going to need to oak your wine right away, that might be a good way to have a precise dosage of oak on the finished wine. However, we have seen that the more time you allow for the oak tannins to interact with the fruit tannins, the better the future polymerisation is going to rebuilt in the finished wine.

How much time before bottling do you recommend using the Oak Add Ins?

As much time as possible would be an easy answer. But, as we know, Oak Add Ins are often used in cases where you don't have time! So, the best thing to do is to leave the products in contact with the wine as long as possible and do that as early as possible in the aging process. If you have to bottle right after using chips for a week, you might not get the same flavors in the bottles than the one you get right after extraction. However, the good news is that, with time, flavors will get smoother!!

After bottling, how do the oak flavors evolve?

The longer the oak has been soaking, the better the integration is going to be. It is most likely that the combination of tannins from the oak and from the fruit prior to bottling will allow flavors to be more stable and last longer in the bottle. However, sensory evaluation shows that some fruit flavor compounds are more volatile than oak tannins aromas and therefore, will evolve more during the aging process.

Are your recommendations the same for all varietals?

It is very difficult to answer this question based on general assumptions. The best way is to take the time to make a trial on your wine with a small quantity and evaluate the results. However, be careful with deductions based on small scale experiment, the intensity of extraction is not proportional to the amount of oak per gallon!

What about micro oxygenation?

Nadalie doesn't provide a micro oxygenation tool but is happy to provide you with the wood that could match any of the system you may already have. We do recommend a careful use of micro oxygenation. As experience shows, this method needs very close attention and constant tasting. Unless you have advice or a person dedicated to it, we don't recommend using it.