The ongoing quest of winemakers to replicate the fresh aroma and structural complexity of oak in wine, without aging it in oak barrels before bottling, continues to advance. While current oak barrel alternatives include oak powders, extracts, wood chips as well as staves and compressed oak mini-logs that are added to wine, the challenge has been to determine how much of these adjuncts to use, and when and how long to use them.
Responding to this industry need, the Pronektar supply division of Tonnellerie Radoux USA Inc. introduced Nektar ID, produced by steeping a pack of staves in a proportioned amount of wine to produce a concentrated oak solution.
Pronektar Regional Sales Manager Steve Burch observed that, “in the past, it could take weeks to see what an alternatives sample pack could do to a bottle of wine. Today, I can meet with a winemaker and conduct a series of blending trials using the Nektar ID liquid and see immediate results. This product enables winemakers to add the desired amount of oak at the right time.”
He said this product is easy to use and gives winemakers control of organoleptic profiles, allowing them to use precise doses with reliable results. This innovative process, developed by the R&D teams at Tonnellerie Radoux and Pronektar, has made it possible to isolate the aromatic and gustatory compounds of products in the Pronektar range in the form of liquid concentrates. Nektar ID is the company’s proprietary sample range of oak chip, block and stave products used in winemaking.
Nektar ID replaces the complicated and lengthy traditional trial method of adding pieces of oak to a wine sample and waiting days, weeks or months to realize the desired effect. According to Burch, Nektar ID allows winemakers to make educated decisions about the blend of oaks, toasts and dose levels, thereby controlling not only the final product, but also the quantities and costs involved.
“It’s just a way for us to help our customers understand our product and get them to a decision faster,” he said.
Initial development of Nektar ID began at Tonnellerie Radoux USA in Santa Rosa in July 2016. All branches of the company officially launched this product internationally this summer. It has been distributed to more than 20 countries to help oenologists and consultants around the world define their wine profiles.
Tonnellerie Radoux, a firm dedicated to wine barrel and tank maintenance, was founded by Robert Radoux in 1947. In 1982, the company added a cooperage making French, American and Eastern European oak barrels, puncheons, casks, tanks, chips and tank staves. The cooperage received ISO 9002 certification in 1995.
The firm’s stave mill, Sciage du Berry, was opened in 1987. Pronektar, a winemaking supply company, was launched in 1991, and in 1994, Tonnellerie Radoux USA Inc. was established in Santa Rosa.