Award-winning wines, beers & spirits share one ingredient
The Infusion Spiral Oak Alternative
Oak Infusion Spiral for Wine
Many winemakers will say that great wine is really made in the vineyard. Their job is simple: do no harm and let the grapes work their wonder. But the winemaker’s role deserves more credit than just serving as a sort of chaperone for the grapes. Decisions are made almost daily along the wine processing continuum and it is the winemaker who navigates the journey that leads to greatness.
Throughout this ongoing winemaking activity, the possible application of oak arises almost any time. From fermentation to just weeks before bottling, this abundant resource with properties seemingly naturally created for winemaking is applied in all kinds of formats to perform one or more critical functions. Whether to build, enhance, support, sweeten, lengthen, lift, mask, improve, complement, round out or add structure, oak is second only to grapes in the hierarchy of components that directly impact the winemaker’s final product.
Understanding the role of oak in the winemaking function was–and still is–the inspiration for the design, manufacture, assembly and packaging of The Oak Infusion Spiral by The Barrel Mill. We believe that in addition to contributing aroma and flavor, an oak adjunct must offer convenience, simplicity, refinement and unquestionable value in a neat, clean, quality-controlled package. Furthermore, when all of these benefits come in a product that performs eight times faster than a new oak barrel, winemakers see, taste, smell, feel and experience for themselves why the Oak Infusion Spiral earns its designation as the smartest oak alternative.
The Oak Infusion Spiral delivers refined quality, elegant integration of wine and oak and a complexity that rivals the finest grained French or American oak barrels. Aroma impact is noticeable but not heavy. Flavor impact is complementary from the background, always respecting the fruit. With every vintage, more and more winemakers across the country are experiencing the quality and value of the Oak Infusion Spiral. And while they still may insist that great wine is made in the vineyard, having the Oak Infusion Spiral in the winery makes achieving greatness that much easier.
Oak Infusion Spiral for Spirits
Distilleries are thinking outside the box with the Infusion Spiral. Savings in cost, labor and time come to the production process of spirits when Oak Spirals are used in place of traditional barrels. What’s more, it’s easy to experiment with new woods and toasts by ordering our carboy spirals in medium and heavy toasts.
Or, conduct larger trials with our popular 9-inch spirals, or our large-volume, Tank Packs, both available in four different toasts.
Note: It is recommended that customers check with the TTB regarding labeling requirements when Oak Spirals are used in place of barrels.
Oak Infusion Spiral® Varieties / Toast Levels
French Oak – (Quercus Sessilis)
An ultra premium, fine grain oak void of sapwood, bark and knots and air-dried for 24 months. Available in light, medium, medium plus, and heavy toast levels, and multi-toast barrel packs (Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone Blend). Convection toasted for thorough and uniform results.
American Northern White Oak – (Quercus Alba)
Featuring tight grain sourced from Missouri forests. This wood is void of sapwood, bark and knots and air dried for 24 months. This oak is available in light, medium, medium plus, and heavy toast levels with convection toasting used for thorough and uniform results.
The Oak Infusion Spiral HYBRID Barrel Pack combines French and American oak in a single Barrel Pack.
Eastern European Oak – (Quercus Sessilis)
In response to demand from winemakers, the Oak Infusion Spiral is now offering Barrel Packs made from Eastern European Oak.
Eastern European oak, specifically Slovakian oak, has been popular with winemakers because it is derived from the same species as French oak, Quercus robur and Quercus petraea, but is priced more competitively. On the palate, its tight grain tends to impart a delicate spice character and softness to wine.
The Oak Infusion Spiral releases fresh, toasted oak compounds through its patented, spiral-cut, space-saving design. Flavors and aromas are extracted in an extremely short time frame, like with oak chips, but with results as refined and integrated as much longer aged tank staves. The abundance of cross-grain and parallel-grain exposure in the spiral design speeds extraction eight times faster than parallel-grain exposure associated with barrels and significantly faster than barrel staves, inserts, sticks, cubes, segments, blocks, beans, balls, dominoes and chains of oak. The spiral-cut design also enables oak to submerge quickly into wine, minimizing exposure to air and eliminating the need to use a supplementary weight. Tank-size packs of Oak Spirals are also available for use in large wine volume applications.
Heavy Toast adds pronounced caramelized wood, with notes of smoke and toasted bread.
Medium Plus Toast
Medium Plus Toast contributes aromas of honey and roasted nuts with a hint of coffee and spice.
Medium Toast offers a sweet bouquet with warm vanilla overtones.
Light Toast adds structure and lifts the fruit with a delicate note of coconut.
Barrel Systems—Infusion Spirals for Barrels
The Infusion Spiral® barrel system, or “Barrel Pack” is the most popular Infusion Spiral product for winemaking in every size segment of the industry and every major wine region in North America. It has been used with virtually every major grape variety and at every stage of production — from oak fermentation to weeks prior to bottling.
From artisan garagistes with only a handful of neutral barrels in the cellar to the mega-wine producers with stacks and rows of thousands of barrels and hundreds of tanks, the Oak Infusion Spiral Barrel Pack has been a workhorse for winemakers since 2005. When the winemaker needs premium new oak aromas and flavors without the expense, space, hassles and time frame associated with buying, storing, preparing and handling brand new oak barrels, the Oak Infusion Spiral Barrel Pack is the go-to oak alternative. In production volumes, it gives winemakers precise control of oak in large or small lots that need individual attention. In the oak trial phase, it gives uncommon reliability of results when applied to standard 59 to 60-gallon barrels rather than 750ml bottles used in typical bench trials. Contact us if you are interested in setting up a trial.
Tank Systems—Oak Spirals for Tank Systems
Whether applying to stainless steel tanks or polyethylene tanks, tank-size Oak Spirals are the most economical way to add new premium oak to large volumes of wine. Popular with wineries that produce 50,000 cases of wine and more per year, and for wineries that want to quickly add oak to Bulk Wine, extraction is fast–within weeks–and results are extremely well integrated. Leave the oak in for an extended period for even smoother integration.
Tank packs contain five 48-inch long Oak Spirals in a single nylon mesh bag. The mesh is looped at one end to make handling and installation easy. The exact same spiral-cut design as the barrel-size is used for the tank-size packs. This is the optimal engineered design for maximum grain exposure in a space-saving package creating minimal material waste in the manufacturing process.
Each tank pack treats 1000 gallons of wine with 25%-30% new oak barrel aroma and flavor. Tank packs can either hang from existing internal tank hooks to avoid contact with lees or simply placed into the wine from above and allowed to submerge if bottom of wine is clear.
When selecting tank-size oak spirals for your wine, think about combining different toast levels in the same tank. This will add complexity, length and mid-palate sweetness.