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pallet, or pellet).

The use of a fining agent that also imparts sensory properties moves the concept of fining agent into the realm of wine ingredient. There are a number of commonly

used winemaking practices that are gradually moving through this transition. An example is the use of oak barrel alternatives such as toasted oak chips or oak extracts. This controversial alternative treatment can develop the nose, flavour and palate of wine at much lower cost than the extraction of oak components from an expensive barrel.

When the oak alternatives are coupled with the exact oxidation of a micro-oxidation system, the process becomes not only less expensive but more exactly controlled for flavour development than the barrel alternative.

Barrel-to-barrel variation is eliminated, but the process can go terribly wrong in inexperienced hands if the wine is inadvertently over- oxidized. The highlights and shadows can be masked by the bitter and nutty notes of oxidation.

Modern winemaking is a highly

competitive business, with quality moving steadily upward. The most important role of the winemaker is to provide the vision of the best he can extract from the vineyard and to know

that if the best is not good enough for the market, then how he must upgrade it.

— Gary Strachan is listed on LinkedIn.

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British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2013

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