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Innovation: a “bâtonnage” (lees stirring) system for round and oval casks

5 January 2023

L’Atelier du Foudrier, the Charlois Group’s foudre (large oak vat) cooperage, has developed an innovative stirring system for round and oval casks.

Drawing on its experience of in-vat bâtonnage, develop and perfected for a high-profile customer in 2013, and in response to the growing popularity of foudres, the Charlois Group’s design office has developed a simple system capable of putting the wine’s fine lees into suspension throughout the ageing period.

Bâtonnage is essential for ageing fine wines for cellar-ageing in bottle, but is unfortunately very difficult to carry out effectively in large containers such as vats and foudres, as opposed to smaller oak casks.

The new bâtonnage system for round and oval casks can be operated as desired, from outside the foudre, without the need to use any oxygen.
Very simple to use, it is operated by a crank whose shaft passes through the “tirage au clair” (clarification) valve.

Less than a minute’s rotation is all that’s needed to put the fine lees into suspension and provide the wines with all the complexity derived from ageing on the lees but without the constraint of traditional batônage with a stick known as a dodine, and thus get the very best out of ageing in foudres. Bâtonnage encourages the autolysis of the yeast, which lends the wine more body and helps in the development of complex aromas.

In the same way as bâtonnage in barrels, this new system can be used once a week up until the start of malolactic fermentation.

Made from electropolished 316L stainless steel, this innovative system is detachable and is fitted to the foudre from its conception but can also be fitted to an existing foudre under certain conditions.

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