Wood barrels assist in the ageing process of wine and whiskey. Oakwood is the most commonly used type of wood for barrels. American white oak is particularly popular because of the flavoring it adds to both wine and whiskey. Oakwood has been used for thousands of years to age wine. There are many reasons for this, including the fact it contains Gallic acid, which is a pseudo tannin. This adds a good deal of spice to anything aged within its confines. Grapes tend to respond very well to this type of atmosphere, and it works well to enhance flavoring.
Types of Oakwood Used in Wine Barrels
European Oak: This type of wood infuses whiskey with spice and vanilla. It is a slower growing oak with a tighter grain and because of this it takes longer to produce than American white oak. It is more absorbent than other types of wood in the oak family, allowing for deeper permeation during the ageing process.
Mongolian Oak: Also known as Japanese oak, or Mizunara, this is a popular type of wood for aging whiskey. It adds hints of coconut, vanilla, oriental incense, sandalwood, and spicy rye.
Sessile Oak: This isn’t as common as other types of wood used for wine barrels. It is found almost exclusively in Europe, although its nickname is Irish Oak because it comes from the national tree of Ireland. This type of wood is sourced out of France and used to make wine and cognac.
American White Oak: This type of wood gives off hints of vanilla and coconut, and the soft taste that results is mellow, with nodes of caramel. It is used to age all types of liquor including scotch and whiskey. American white oak grows in the eastern portions of the US, as well as Canada. It grows surprisingly fast for an oak tree; therefore, it is more affordable and sustainable than European white oak.
Other woods commonly used to make wine barrels:
- French oak
- Redwood – doesn’t work for smaller barrels because it is too rigid to be made into smaller varieties. In addition, it gives off a flavor that many find to be unpleasant.
- Cherry – cherry wood has an off-putting smell that deters its use more often than not.
- Rauli wood – this was a popular wood to age wine in Chile, although, it is falling out of favor because it adds a musty scent to the wine.
- Black Locust – this type of barrel will give wine a yellow tint.
- Japanese cedar – this is used for some Asian beverages to give alcohol a uniquely minty and piny taste.
While all of these woods have been used in the past, none have demonstrated the same qualities and traits as oakwood. Hence, why oakwood remains the most popular wood variety used to age wine and whiskey.
The Beauty of Wine Barrel Furniture
Great care is taken to make wine barrels. Perhaps one of the best ways to reuse wine barrels is to fashion them into furniture. Wine barrel furniture is popular because it is stylish, durable and offers a beautiful grain. Plus, each piece of furniture doubles as a conversation piece. Why source fresh wood when you can reuse oak barrels?
Wood Art World’s wine barrel furniture is handcrafted in the USA using the finest wood available. Shop our complete collection of coffee tables, vanities, and more.