Although not common worldwide, wine barrels are often used when whisky is made in close proximity to large wine regions – ie Australia.
The barrel has a major impact on the flavour of the whisky, with red wine barrels imparting a deep, rich and complex character. The wood itself adds tannins, vanilla and dark fruit notes, while the remnants of the wine can add additional sweetness and spice. The whisky will take on the colour and texture of the wine, and the end result can be incredibly unique and exciting.
Usually made from French oak, each style of wine leaves its own character in the barrel for the whisky to use. Heavier red wines can be spicier and full-bodied while lighter wines tend to be fruitier. While white wine can bring out a buttery texture and grassy flavours. Definitely something we’d like to see distilleries experiment with more.