One tree produces enough stave wood
for a little less than one barrel, and one hectare produces no more than 10 barrels every 100 years.
One winery in Napa Valley, however, isn't just customizing barrels to its needs but controls the entire cooperage process from stave wood
for barrel production was selected after 30 months of natural seasoning at the Vicard Cooperage woodlot in Cognac.
The supply of logs (and thus stave wood
) had not grown in pace with that demand, however, resulting in higher prices for wine barrels.
The days of raw-cut oak chips and discarded stave wood
are long gone.
While acknowledging that he's still getting to know some of the trends that dictate barrel fashion, Zandvliet did say the intense demand for American oak stave wood
for Bourbon barrels is still driving up prices and may cause some winemakers to rethink their barrel programs.
The winery purchased a 50% stake in the company in 2000, and recently acquired the remainder to ensure production standards and a secure supply of aged stave wood
. While Silver Oak has focused exclusively on Cabernet Sauvignon aged in American oak barrels since 1972, the opportunity to purchase the cooperage arose during a period of strong demand for premium American white oak, fueled by the international market as well as the rise in U.S.-produced craft whiskeys and bourbons.
He said he thinks the cold Minnesota winters and soils of the region create oak trees with exceptionally tight growth rings that yield stave wood
of high quality.
The minimum order for stave wood
is enough for 20 barrels.
Italian cooper Garbellotto won a technological innovation award for its specific near-infrared technology that measures with a non-destructive method the lactones, vanillin and polyphenol content of barrel stave wood
. The process can also determine the aromatic profile of the wood.
Caption: Coopers reported a price increase of 1%-5% this year, partly because of the ever-increasing cost of raw materials like this stave wood
piled at a seasoning yard in France.
Whereas it was common to offer French oak with American heads or a 50-50 mix on stave wood
, Roberts says he can provide a blend of different American oaks or of French oak from different forests.