Italian oenologist and winery consultant, Alberto Antonini spoke out to The Drinks Business, about the continued reliance on oak barrels in wine making while showing off some of his more premium wines at Bodega Garzon in Uruguay.
When making more upscale wines, Antonini says, wooden barrels have become less desirable. “We don’t need [oak] barrels – the world of wine is already full of different flavours,” he explained. In fact, Bodega Garzon made the official switch to alternative vessels in 2014 and hasn’t looked back since.
As Antonini partners with Alejandro Bulgheroni, the Uruguayan entrepreneur on whom’s estate Bodega Garzon’s vineyards flourish, the wine guru seems to have done away with oak barrels all together, using oak only for more “entry level” wines. “Oak is used to fix problems,” Antonini states, “If you have great grapes then you don’t need it.”
The business partners are bringing new life to the wine industry and to a new region of Uruguay. The wine landscape in South America is evolving, but Antonini maintains that Garzon will be his only winery project in Uruguay — a project where oak is neither needed or preferred and grapes are trusted to rise to their true potential in alternative vessels such as stainless steel wine barrels.
To read more about Antonini and Uruguay’s emergence on the wine scene, visit The Drinks Business.