The use of wood chips is a common winemaking practice that has been permitted in Europe since the early 2000s. The use of oak chips, or other wood alternative products, has not always been favorably viewed by both producers and wine consumers. Beyond possible misuse, however, wood chips are a useful tool for the optimal achievement of numerous oenological objectives, including the extraction of certain volatile odor compounds from oak wood chips as well as compounds that will improve wine quality. This chapter deals with the main oenological uses of oak wood chips, the chemical transformations that underlie this practice and the effect of their utilization on wine quality. A final aspect concerns the main compositional and sensory differences between wines aged in barrel and those aged with alternative products, as well as the discriminative analytical methods used for this purpose.
Part of the book: Chemistry and Biochemistry of Winemaking, Wine Stabilization and Aging