When we took over Alderlea we had a fair amount of red wine in tanks, three years of Matrix and a vintage of Merlot. We were able to taste the wines and tweak the blends a bit. We determined that they would benefit from a bit more oak, as largely neutral oak had been used previously. In keeping with our sustainability mandate, we looked at re-coopered barrels.
Over the last two decades, the technology of re-coopering has come a long way. The inside of the barrel is machined away under vacuum, completely removing the wine-soaked and toasted interior surface. The barrel may then be traditionally toasted and reassembled. Being able to re-cooper barrels this way significantly reduces our environmental footprint by diminishing the need to cut down new trees and ship the barrels from Europe. From a winemaking point of view, the re-coopered barrels give all the flavour of a new barrel at only 85% of the intensity, which suits our delicate Vancouver Island reds perfectly. Our barrel program uses 70-80% neutral oak and 20-30% new re-coops on our Matrix and Merlot reds. Our Clarinet is aged in neutral 2000 litre and 225 litre oak vessels. Our 2017 Pinot Noir is 90% neutral oak and 10% second fill re-coops. We are sourcing our re-coopered barrels from Ontario’s DRM Re-coop who have become a trusted partner for our barrels.