French Oak Alternatives from VINEA
VINEA is the French leader in oak alternatives. VINEA French oak staves were one of the first naturally air-dried, fire-toasted staves to be available to the wine industry worldwide. The company’s long history with oenological wood products is valuable to winemakers who seek top quality oak expression.
Under the direction and ownership of Jean-Christophe Varron, VINEA began making fire-toasted stave oak alternatives in 1994. Mr. Varron has a massive resume and history with French cooperages and stave producers, including pioneering activities for Tonnellerie Radoux, Tonnellerie Sansaud, Tonnellerie Berthomieu, Tonnellerie Bernard and Mendocino Cooperage.
VINEA currently has over 1000 winery clients in Bordeaux as well as a worldwide presence. These winemakers truly believe that VINEA oak alternatives are the closest they can get to reproducing the characteristics of a classic French barrel.
VINEA believes the primary purpose of oak alternatives is to give structure and length to wines rather than just be used as a tool for aromatic profiling.
VINEA adheres to the three fundamentals of quality French oak for wine:
- Origin – fine-grain wood sourced from traditional terroirs in the center of France (Chateauroux and Loches).
- Drying – guaranteed 36 months minimum natural seasoning at Poitiers.
- Toasting – hand done over traditional French oak wood fires for 50 minutes total on each side.
TIME IS KEY
The key to VINEA’S quality, according to Jean-Christophe Varron, lies in the ability to correctly season the oak for the right length of time: “Our wood yard in Poitiers is 1.5 hectares in size with oak stacked and dried in piles of over five meters high. Therefore, no compromise on seasoning time is ever necessary. The toasting over open fires is quite labor intensive and time consuming, but we believe this brings finesse and integration to the wine.”
For faster extraction and where pricing is of greater importance, VINEA offers oak alternatives toasted via ceramic radiant heat. This process ensures consistent quality along with excellent chromatic uniformity.
To get further insights into oak alternatives from the French leader, please take a look at our VINEA product pages and photo gallery.