BurgundyOak Barrel Anatomy How Barrels Are Made

Parts of the Wine Barrel

Every Barrel Head tells the story of it's origins, life cycle and history.

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Flavor profiles

The toasting phase is a key stage, mellowing wood’s harsh tannins and mitigating raw oak flavours. There are multiple types of toast levels which are chosen specifically by the winery for different flavours and profiles matched with different wines.

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- Light Toast (LT) - Enhanced structure & light notes of toast

- Medium Toast (MT) – Soft caramel accented by toasted bread

- Medium Toast Plus (MT+) – Sweet cream with notes of vanilla & brown sugar

- Heavy Toast (HT) - Rich mocha character accentuates darker fruits

- Toasted Heads (TH) – Barrel heads are toasted or plain by winery request

Types of Oak


  • Allier
  • Vosges
  • Nevers
  • Burgundy
  • Troncais
  • Limousin

Eastern Europe

  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Romania
  • Caucasus


  • Appalachia
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • Kentucky
  • Virginia
  • Indiana
  • Pennsylvania
  • Arkansas
  • Wisconsin
  • Ohio
  • Iowa
  • Oregon

The Grain

Wood buyers look for the straightest oak trees possible, which provide straight wood grain with as few flaws as possible. The use of French Haute Futaie, or superior growth, wood from 150- to 200-year-old forests ensures dense, tightly packed grain and fine tannins. 


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  • Medium Grain: Works well with shorter aged wines, 12 months or less, like Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
  • Mixed Grain – 50% tight grain & 50% medium grain. Allows more oxygenation and a faster maturing  
  • Tight Grain – The most popular grain type, Used when aging wines in barrels for 12-24 months or when working with a high quality fruits
  • Extra Tight Grain – The highest quality barrel – used to achieve a seamless   integration of the oak. Used for again 18-24 months

Air Drying/Seasoning

Typically dries outside in the forest to accent the natural flavour profiles  in the wood.

  • 24 months – Best suited for medium to long aging, to enhance the wine palate and add bright aromas
  • 36 months – Designed to respect the fruit and bring complexity, volume and length to high end wines
  • 48 months – Crafted for long aging to bring depth, finesse and silky tannins to top wines

The Cooperages We Work With


Year Founded: 1912

Locations: USA, France, Australia, South Africa, South America

Oak Used: French, American

Info: World Cooperage is family-owned company building on four generations of experience in the oak industry. Their story is rooted in family values, technology and innovation. They maintain a long-term vision for every aspect of the business – most importantly, to craft enduring partnerships with wineries around the world.

Year Founded: 1933

Locations: USA, France

Oak Used: American

Info: Canton really focuses on sustainability. To ensure full traceability from the forest to the barrel, Canton implemented a process that keeps track of all key information, for every step of production. This information is stored into our database and is accessible by a unique serial number on each barrel.

Year Founded: 1947

Locations: US, France, South Africa, Australia, Spain

Oak Used: French, American, Eastern European

Info: Radoux’s Research and Development team is dedicated to producing new toasting techniques to maximize the oak’s beneficial influence on a particular varietal of wine. In 2005, Radoux introduced the Evolution Toast, which results in a wider range of aromas and more respect of the fruit, producing a more fruit-forward wine with increased roundness and mouth feel.

Year Founded: 1980

Locations: USA, France

Oak Used: American, French

Info: Calistoga, California, is where Nadalie USA first introduced the old, traditional French style of barrel making in the USA. In the ensuing years, that style has evolved to result in the finest American oak barrels available. The Napa Valley location is convenient to West Coast winemakers who wish to visit the cooperage and see their barrels being hand-crafted.

Year Founded: 1870

Locations: USA, France

Oak Used: French, American

Info: SEGUIN MOREAU continues to build on nearly two centuries of tradition and more than three decades of pioneering oenological.research, consistently delivering top-quality oak for wineries’ barrel programs. 

Year Founded: 1972

Locations: USA

Oak Used: American

Info: Originally established as a keg business, our focus soon shifted to the production  of 59-gallon American white oak wine barrels sourced from their backyard of Central and Northern Missouri. Today, we maintain a laser-like focus on the quality and consistency of our classic 59-gallon American oak wine barrels, while also producing a small number of American and French Oak barrels for the whiskey and bourbon industries

Check out our Certificates of Authenticity


the journey

from the barrel to the bottle