Contact with Oak adds signature depth of flavor & complexity to wines. In contrast to maturing in standard oak barrels, Flextank offers technology to give more flavor control to the winemaker. By inserting oak staves into the wine you are able to more easily control the strength and dynamic of the flavors. But how do you use them? We’ve partnered with our friends at WineStix to give you the answers!

1) What Types of wine benefit from oak adjuncts?

Oak Adjuncts add tannins and are used in any wine or beverage that benefits from the prominent oak flavors which can include vanilla, caramel, coffee, spices, and rich smokiness. The most common wines varietals that benefit from oak include, but are not limited to, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc wines.

2) How do i pick an oak stave for my Flextank?

Choosing a stave has never been easier than with WineStix, scientifically designed to work with your Flextank. Simply choose your oak flavor (French or American), choose your toast level, and then select the gallon size of your tank.

3) Why do my oak staves come toasted, and which toast leve should i choose?

Toasting oak staves ensures any raw, green woody flavors are not transferred into the wine. The most popular toast is medium, but as you might expect- lighter toast level can be used for lighter, fruitier wines while darker toast levels can be used for heavier, smokier wines.

4) When is the best time to start contact?

WineStix are packaged sterile and should be introduced to any juice at the beginning of primary fermentation. With grape skins, you’ll want to put oak in after the first rack after pressing. If you use the co-inoculation techniques to produce your wine, it is recommended that you put your oak in the ferment under a stainless steel weight to ensure it stays below the cap. Oak contact during the young MLF stage is binding and balancing, bringing a smoothness to the wine.

5) What is the ideal contact time for the staves?

8-10 months is the ideal contact time needed to balance the extractions of short and long grains, producing an end result comparable to a second use barrel. You may notice a number of oak flavors present right away, but be sure to allow 3 months minimum, as early removal of the stave prevents certain beneficial long-grain flavor extractions.

6) Can I reuse my oak staves?

Yes, your oak stave can be reused. The recommended method for reusing your oak is to rinse dead yeast cells off with non-chlorinated water and then use sterile methods to immediately transport your stave to the next tank. If you do not have a racked tank ready, you can also use a stainless steel brush and non-chlorinated water to brush the stave, rinse and repeat before shaking off excess water, double-wrapping in kitchen plastic wrap, and then freezing until ready to use again.

7) How and where can I buy WineStix for my Flextank?

The most popular staves can be purchased from Flextank. Don’t see what your looking for? We’ll special order staves to fit any needs.