Definition - What does Oak Staves mean?
Oak staves are large planks or thick sticks of oak that are added to wine juice in steel barrels before or after fermentation to deliver oaked characteristics to the wine. The use of oak staves is an alternative to oak barreling, which can be time consuming and costly. Oak staves help the wine gain oak flavors, tannins and aromas while being economically and environmentally friendly.
WineFrog explains Oak Staves
As with barrels, there are different types and varieties of oak species used for different purposes dependent on the type of wine being manufactured and the level of oak tastes desired. Oak staves that are added before fermentation offer a lighter, smoother taste and those added after fermentation, under the influence of yeast and alcohol, extract the oak’s flavors and aromas at a higher level.
Staves can be used more than once, increasing their value and reducing wine manufacturing cost. They can also be blended to produce customized effects, winemakers sometimes use two different types of oak staves (light and dark) to add varying levels of toast and smoke to the wine. Another customization technique is to check the staves at regular intervals and remove them or add more to achieve the desired taste.