Marriage between wine and whiskey: it’s all in the barrel

By Rachel Dotson

Crown Valley barrels_Dotson

Whiskey barrels age 500 gallons of chardonel and norton wine at Crown Valley Winery. Photo by Rachel Dotson

STE GENEVIEVE, Mo — Wine enthusiasts may not agree with Alwyn Dippenaar’s latest project, but that isn’t stopping him from trying his hand at aging wine in whiskey barrels.

Crown Valley Winery is planted among the rolling hills in Ste Genevieve, Missouri, and is known for its winery, brewery and distillery. Six-year winemaker at Crown Valley Winery, Alwyn Dippenaar’s new project is one of only a few that experiments with chardonel and Norton in whiskey barrels.

The concept isn’t very common amongst winemakers. Typically, wine is aged in American or French oak barrels made and toasted specifically for wine. The wine gains different flavors and aromas from the oak, which adds to the tasting quality of the wine.

Not only are whiskey barrels smaller, many winemakers believe that the darker toast of the whiskey barrel can have a major effect on wine flavor, Dippenaar said.

Dippenaar said he is experimenting with the concept as he goes.

“It’s got a charcoal character to it,” Dippenaar said. “That is why I need to keep tasting it and make sure (that flavor) doesn’t get too (strong).”


Alwyn Dippenaar, winemaker at Crown Valley, describes the fermentation process for white and red grapes. Photo by Rachel Dotson

His experimental batch of 500 gallons has been aging for around six months. The barrels once stored whiskey that was scored at 95 out of a 100-point scale by Wine Spectator, Dippenaar said.

Crown Valley Winery offers 25-minute winery tours at 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. For information Crown Valley can be reached at 886-207-9463 or visit its website.

Leave a comment

Filed under MU Journalism Abroad, Science ad Agricultual Journalism, wine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s