Canadian Oak, Eh’?


Niagara College Research Conducts Sensory and Aromatic Comparison of Wine in 3 Barrel Types

(Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON) September 12 – In partnership with the Canadian Oak Cooperage, Niagara College’s Teaching Winery recently conducted a study which involved the sensory and aromatic comparison of wine in three barrel types including: Canadian Oak, American Oak and French Oak.

“The main goal of this study was to define the distinct sensory and aromatic characteristics of Canadian Oak including flavour profiles in this unique barrel style,” said Terence van Rooyen, Niagara College Winemaker. “Only select wine regions can claim to have an entirely local influenced product, which involves the aging of their wines in oak grown and coopered locally. This is truly a first for the Niagara Region,” he added.

The research study began at the end of the harvest in 2007, and the College has been working with Dr. Jim Hedges of the Canadian Oak Cooperage for this trial.  Mr. Hedges is a physician from Hamilton who is also an amateur winemaker and woodworker.  The chemical analysis was carried out with the assistance of Dr. George van der Merwe from the University of Guelph. The Niagara College Research Department helped to spearhead the research study.

"Niagara Research works with local businesses and organizations to help them become more innovative and competitive and we're thrilled to be a part of such an exciting project," said Natalee Tokar, Research Project Manager, Niagara Research.

"Niagara Research teams industry partners, with faculty and student teams. Working on real-world, applied research projects provides students with the opportunity to bring the skills and knowledge they have learned in the classroom to a new level. These types of experiences broaden employment opportunities for our student research assistants and better prepares them for their future careers," she added.

Niagara Research partnered with the Consumer Perception & Cognition Lab at Brock University for the sensory component of the project. 

“These sensory tests will provide insights into the different aromas and flavours that Canadian oak adds to wine.  More importantly, the tests will reveal consumer preferences, which ultimately leads to what wines they purchase,” said Erika Neudorf, Research Coordinator, Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute, Brock University.

Jon Ogryzlo, Dean of EHAD, talks about the key role Niagara College plays with industry. “Applied research plays an important role in our work with the grape and wine industry with our focus on problem solving and technology transfer we provide practical applied research leading to research results that our industry partners can use in their decision making and operations.  Our unique teaching winery and on-campus vineyards provide us with great resources for both teaching and applied research projects.”

For more information, please visit


About Niagara Research

Niagara Research is the home page of applied research at Niagara College.  The role of Niagara research is to provide real world solutions for business, industry and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities. Niagara Research, in partnership with business or community partners, conducts applied research projects that model or simulate solutions, develop and test prototypes, adopt new technologies and knowledge, develop and evaluate new or improved products, processes, or solutions to community issues. 

Contact:     Natalee Tokar  (905) 641-2252 Ext. 4151

[Barrels] [Our Story] [Our Barrels] [Our Forests] [Research] [Press Release] [The Science] [The Wine] [Contact Us] [News Articles] [Site Map]

  Email: P. O. Box 790, 250 German School Road St. George Ontario N0E 1N0 Canadian Oak

©Canadian Oak 2015 all rights reserved