A TYPICAL WINE BARREL HAS A USEFUL LIFE OF FIVE TO SEVEN YEARS
A good wine barrel can be made from only the best oak, found typically in one hundred year old, or older, trees grown with a trunk diameter usually exceeding one and a half metres. Ageing in new oak barrels typically imparts desirable vanilla, butter and spice flavours to wine but over time, five to seven years, many of the oak properties get "leached" out and there may be little or no oak flavours left to impart to the wine. After that time the barrel is normally discarded, to be used as firewood or cut in half as planters.
Barrel staves are made from top grade, tight grain, slow growth, quarter sawn, French oak The oak selected for barrel staves must be straight and free of knots and seasoned by drying naturally in the open air from eighteen months to two years. The sun, wind, and rain will then help the wood mature. Staves are then trimmed into a double taper and set on their ends within an iron hoop where coopers alternate narrow and wide staves around the hoop to build strength and structure.
Verity Pride & Associates Ltd - VAT No. 848 832485 - Registered in England - Company No 05293206 - T/A The Old Wine Barrel Company