Sales of Vinéa SA’s Eclat range of Ceramic-Toast barrels grew by 25% during the 2017 harvest. At a time when many winemakers are dramatically reducing their barrel purchases due to budget constraints and the deterioration of the rand, this is a remarkable achievement.
This growth in sales is attributed to existing clients buying more barrels every year, but also an increase in new clients willing to experiment with a barrel toasted using an innovative method.
“No fire is used in the toasting process, hence no smoke is captured into the grain of the oak,” Vinéa SA managing partner Marius van Tonder says. “The barrel is therefore extremely respectful of fruit and manages to allow the wine to express its true terroir characteristics.”
It also ensures precision when it comes to temperature and duration of toasting. Due to this accuracy the results can be precisely replicated barrel after barrel. Another important benefit of ceramic toasting is there is no charring or blistering.
On the back of its excellent sales figures, Vinéa is launching two new Eclat ranges for the 2018 season: Eclat Hŷdro and Eclat Fûzion.
The Eclat Hŷdro makes use of a steam chamber to saturate the oak prior to toasting. This further improves the efficiency of the ceramic toasting as it allows for longer and deeper toasting into the oak, resulting in higher levels of sucrosity and mid-pallet roundness in the wine. The preliminary results of trials in France have proved to be extraordinarily exciting and successful. The first commercially made Eclat Hŷdro barrels were recently shipped to America and many customers in France have placed orders for their next harvest.
The Eclat Fûzion barrel shows Vinéa’s appreciation for wines such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, where the presence of smoky characteristics enhances the varietal typicity. Incorporating both innovation and tradition, the first 40% of the toasting is done over an open fire and the last 60% with Ceramic-Toasting. Vinéa also manufactures two other types of barrels.
- The Artizana French Oak barrel is toasted with fire and imparts the best qualities that a truly traditional hand-crafted barrel can bring to your wine.
- The Mendocino American Oak Barrel results in delicate, rounded and exotic characteristics with genuine presence. Excellent North American (Minnesota and Wisconsin) terroirs and 26 months open-air seasoning are the key features in a programme that ensures its quality.
As a pioneer in the industry since 1994, Vinéa is best known for its highly regarded range of alternative oak products, including staves, segments and chips using both fire- and ceramic-toasted methods. The 5 kg bags of Mixed Segments, launched five years ago, are also extremely popular. This product is a blend of various wood origins and toasting methods, ensuring fantastic complexity and great value for money.
Vinéa’s philosophy is that the primary purpose of wood is to give structure and length to wines rather than just be used as a tool for aromatic profiling. Its alternative products reproduce the closest possible characteristics of a classic oak barrel-ageing regime. The key to reaching these goals lies in the ability to correctly season the oak for the optimum length of time and this can only be done if you’re confident in the stock levels in your wood yard. No compromise on seasoning time is ever considered or done.
Marius van Tonder
082 616 0610