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03.29.2006

Or Are Oak Chips "The Beginning of the End?"

Hot on the heels of the debate from the last couple days here on Vinography about whether oak barrels are obsolete, comes news that France will now allow winemakers to use oak chips in winemaking, along with some other new world techniques, including those which lower the alcohol in wines.

The French call them "shavings" but it was announced today by the French Ministry of Agriculture that the lower cost use of oak chips would help French wines better compete on price with others around the world for whom these techniques are, if not prevalent, certainly commonplace.

Reactions have ranged from relief and encouragement to outrage, and, from at least one wine bar patron in Paris, pronouncement of the End of Days.

From my perspective, it's great to see things changing in France, if only because for so long they haven't been. And as many thousands of angry winegrowers are fond of pointing out with bricks and pipe bombs and truckloads of manure, what they've got ain't working.

Read the full story. And in case you missed it, just yesterday the American's pronounced the death of the wine barrel.

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