There's not much technique. Add 'em or don't... it's a personal choice but let's see what the rationale is to start.
Full disclosure: I added neutral oak chips to my Syrah. 8 Pounds for 42 gallons of must.
I actually heard of this technique when I was talking with Morgan Twain-Peterson, winemaking of Bedrock Wine Co
in Sonoma. He mentioned how he does it with all his reds now as increases color intensity and stability, increases the mid palate and helps bring oak nuances through the wine once barrels are introduced.
Addresses the mid palate was something I was hoping to improve this time around as my first vintage fell short there in my opinion. So I thought, why not...
An article on Wines & Vines
talked about oak alternatives and the methods using powders, chips and staves in conjunction with neutral barrels. They say,
"Lightly toasted or even untoasted, they add tannin structure from
the oak, while increasing perceived mouthfeel and softness due to
heightened polymerization of grape and oak tannins. They also
contribute a sense of sweetness from the vanillin in the wood, and can
enhance the fruit character in the wine.
helps stabilize color in red wines."
I purchased 40 pounds of neutral oak chips to use on my fermentation this year. I purchase the bundle from XtraOak
"Addition of oak during fermentation can yield a number of benefits. With white wines, fermenting on oak can add sweetness, roundness, and complexity. The integration of the oak and wine in white wines is greatly improved by early additions of oak. With red wines, oak additions to the fermenter can help bind red color, assist in softening tannins, and minimize vegetal character (i.e. bell pepper). Recommended 20-30 lbs. per 1000 gallons. Contact times varies."
I don't have a basis of comparison since this is the first time I've used chips but when my Cabernet Sauvignon is picked, I intend to split into two batches, one with chips and one without, then compare.
Anyone have experience using oak chips in your fermentation?