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About RedOaker

In 2000 we founded “Certified Welding and Installations”, a small company specialising in stainless steel engineering including design, manufacture and installations for the Australian Wine Industry. After completing several projects and talking to winemakers around Australia we immediately recognised a common denominator. Oak barrels, although the “gold standard”, for premium wine maturation are almost unanimously considered to be overtly expensive, unreliable and wasteful. We also see them as a bit of an environmental disaster. In our view replacing centuries old oak trees in old growth forest with saplings planted on cleared land hardly represents a responsible industry attitude or a sustainable resource. The fact that less than 10% of this valuable resource will ever influence the characteristics of any wine is particularly disappointing. We also feel water consumption when attempting to clean oak barrels is a serious consideration, especially given current climatic conditions in Australia. It all seems very unnecessary.

In 2001, and with the above in mind, we began researching and developing an oak barrel alternative, one that would allow winemakers to enjoy all of the benefits of oak barrel maturation, but in a vessel with far less costly and restrictive attributes.

Our research in this regard will never be entirely complete, but 2009 sees the proud introduction of the new RedOaker MS Series that encapsulate and offer the winemaker all that RedOaker has learnt in the past 9 vintages.

“To consider in this age of modern winemaking and understanding we struggle to improve upon the oak barrel as a storage or maturation medium is surprising. They date back to the Iron Age.

It may be said the more complex oxidative interactions between oak and wine compounds during maturation will continue to be a source of further research and discussion.

However we have found the manner in which the oak barrel acts as a physical mechanism and influences the contained wine, particularly in the sense of oak intergration and oxygen ingress, is not at all difficult to replicate, control and improve upon, significantly.

Few tools in the hands of winemakers have more influence on the final product than the oak barrel; fewer still are as unreliable and wasteful. I suspect if winemakers had always enjoyed using the RedOaker units, and we were to offer an alternative vessel made entirely of oak that was not food grade, halved cellar storage capacities, cost many times the price per litre and was virtually useless after a few vintages, it probably wouldn't be taken very seriously”.

“And rightfully so”

Neal Palmer

Neal Palmer, Technical Director

Ros Sutton

Ros Sutton, Operations Manager