Oak–Wine Salt

Preparation info

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By Ben Shewry

Published 2012

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  • 1 g (1/32 oz) oak red-wine barrel shavings
  • 25 ml (¾ fl oz) rich red wine (same varietal as the barrel)
  • 25 g (1 oz) Murray River salt flakes
  • food-grade sawdust*, for smoking


The wine industry discards thousands of used handmade oak barrels each year as each time a barrel is filled its ability to flavour a wine is diminished. I’m not suggesting that my recipe above is the solution to the problem but it’s just a simple way of making use of something that is not very highly valued. And it makes a nice alternative to a garden planter.

In a small bowl, soak the oak shavings with the wine for 2 hours, then grind into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Combine with the salt and gently stir trying not to break up the salt flakes. Place in a small stainless-steel bowl. Light a cold smoker* using the sawdust, place the bowl inside and smoke the mixture at 2°C (36°F) for 45 minutes.

Spread the mixture on a dehydrator rack and place in a food dehydrator* at 68°C (154°F) for 2 hours to dry. Store in an airtight container until needed.