International Code of Oenological Practices

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Fermentation in small capacity wooden containers

II.2.3.8 Fermentation in small capacity wooden containers


Carrying out alcoholic fermentation and, possibly, malolactic fermentation of wines in small capacity wooden containers.


a)        To favour natural physical and chemical mechanisms leading to the enriching of wine through substances released by wood when containers have a maximum capacity of 600 litres;

b)       Allow the transformation by micro-organisms of substances released by wood;

c)        To obtain the closest possible contact between lees and wine, in order to favour the migration of wine yeast compounds into wine, through autolysis.


a)        It is recommended to use partially clarified must at an appropriate temperature;

b)       It is recommended, for the process to be efficient and to favour the maximum dissipation of fermentation heat, that the volume/wood surface ratio be optimised, in accordance with the product to be made;

c)        The recipient will be made of wood that keeps its natural structure. Cooperage techniques as defined for the construction of new casks could be used to optimise the objectives. The traceability of wood is recommended, and at the very least, the manufacture date should be visibly engraved;

d)       The inside surface of the recipient could be regenerated by usual cooperage methods. In this case, the date should be visibly engraved.

Recommendation of OIV: