Demptos Research Centre

Founded in 1991, in association with the Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology located at the University of Bordeaux. Originally just a research department, it became the Demptos Research Centre (DRC) in 2009.

Role of the Demptos Research Centre

Through the original research into the interaction of wine, oxygen and oak emanating from the Demptos Research Centre at the University of Bordeaux, this rich tradition has intersected with modern science. Demptos strives to complement winemaking with a vision and strategy that takes a substance-based approach to maturing. This knowledge has enabled its cooperages to evolve, and through the DRC’s innovations ensure that they meet today’s needs and the future’s aspirations.

The aim is to ensure that barrels become a modern winemaking instrument by combining age-old craftsmanship and state of the art techniques developed by the Demptos Research and Development department.

Oak Selection

Knowing how to anticipate the outcome in the quality of future barrels is essential. Assessing the potential of a tree that’s still in the ground to produce an exceptional wine. Demptos combines years of tradition and scientific expertise and puts it to work, achieving ever-greater precision when selecting the oak.
Notwithstanding the importance of scientifically-informed selection of wood, traditional criteria remain the most important for Demptos when choosing the wood. As such, the origin and species of the trees are crucial.

Whether we are sourcing the oak from France, Hungary or North America, sourcing is only from the most prestigious managed forests. The trees being Quercus petraea and Quercus robur, or Quercus alba respectively.

Thanks to the research conducted over more than twenty years by the Demptos Research Centre, the best-performing oaks can be selected. Categorised according to their grain and macro-porosity, the wood is identified using the technological criteria to ensure the best possible consistency within individual forests.

Drying and Seasoning Methods

The Demptos Research Centre teams have been able to demonstrate the superiority of natural, open-air drying and seasoning in comparison to artificial processes. The natural wood drying and seasoning process is a crucial factor in crafting the highest quality wine, revealing its hidden aromas.

The Demptos Research Centre identified the three strains of fungus responsible for wood seasoning and detailed their effects to maximise and monitor their effects. By analysing samples of the trees taken at regular intervals, it can be determined exactly when the wood is at peak ageing, ensuring quality. This is what guarantees that the oak is free from any potential contamination.

Outdoor drying and seasoning use rain to eliminate the most bitter tannins from the wood. Furthermore, certain strains of fungus grow on the wood and act and develop its phenolic profile. When conducted naturally, the natural transformation of lignin to vanillin is more effective than under artificial conditions.

Through Dr. Vivas and the staff of the Research Centre, numerous defining papers on the interaction of wine, wood, and oxygen have been published. By way of this, Demptos has gained an understanding of the qualitative elements of barrels allowing for precision in outcome or style.