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Oakvale Wines

James Becker
7 August 2015 | Wine Making | James Becker

Minimal Intervention Winemaking and What That Means for You

 Simply put minimal intervention is the belief that as little should be done to the wine as possible. This means minimal use of any chemical, including sulphur dioxide, even reducing or eliminating the use of pumps used to move wine around.  

While we here at Oakvale are not certified organic or bio-dynamic we do believe in and adhere to most of those practices. James believes that wine is first and foremost created in the vineyard. Once it arrives to us in the cellar our main focus is to “just not mess it up!”

So, what does all of this really mean to you, the wine drinker?

You may notice a few things that are a little different about our wines. For one, your hangover may be less extreme given the minimal amount of sulphur that we use. Not to mention less congestion and irritation if you are a person who is particularly sensitive to sulphur. Always a good thing!

Additionally, you may occasionally notice what appears to be glass or crystals in your bottle. If wines are not cold stabilized (bear with me, I’ll explain this soon) there is a chance that crystals will form when the wine is refrigerated or stored for long periods of time. These “wine crystals” are cause by tartaric acid, which is naturally found in wine grapes. They are not harmful to you in any way but I understand that it can be unsettling to see them in your wine glass.  The process to stop this from happening is referred to as Cold Stabilization. You can add several additives to wine or cool it down to below freezing for an extended period of time in order to make a wine “cold stable.” However, this process goes against our belief in minimal intervention so we don’t do it. If you would like more information on this process please feel free to email us or give us a call and we’d be happy to go into more detail for you.

("wine crystals" in the bottom of a bottle)

The less chemical manipulation we can get away with the better! This leaves you with the knowledge that by drinking Oakvale wine you are getting the most natural, traditional product that we can make. I don’t know about you, but we definitely sleep a little better at night knowing that. (The bottle of Chardonnay we may or may not polish off doesn't hurt either…)

Oakvale “Drink Better” 


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