Wood Wine Barrels Part 2
Welcome to Vine to Wine, this is your host Linda Moran. Today is part two of our research into the wood barrel as the vessel of choice for storing wine.
As we said yesterday it took a good deal of trial and error to determine that oak was the best wood match for wine barrels and there are three types of oak that are thought to be the best. They say oak trees express the terroir or the land and climate where they grow in much the same manner as grape vines. It seems as though the French oak with trees grown in northern cooler climates with poor soil are producing wood with a fine grain and a chemical profile that is positive when combine with wine. Apparently the oak trees have two growing seasons spring and summer. The growth varies according to weather and soil and this climate growth is slow creating a fine wood grain which is necessary for making a strong barrel. A more solid wood is a desirable quality. Barrels are made from sections called staves. The traditional French barrel staves are made by splitting the oak along the natural grain, whereas American oak grain is conducive to the newer methods of stave making by cutting with a saw. Now after the staves are cut they have to be seasoned because the fresh wood is much too moist. This is done again in a traditional method by using a special stacking technique and allowing the staves to season out of doors for two to three years. The modern method is to kiln dry which drastically reduces the seasoning time. Join me tomorrow as we continue our research into the wood barrel, and thank you for joining me on today’s Vine to Wine.