Oak Sourcing

Oak sourcing is the crucial key to the wine industry and as time goes by, it’s not getting easier.

There are articles in the industry media publications, about growing concerns of oak sourcing. Especially larger barrel manufacturer – with a production of tens of thousands of barrels – experienced how difficult to acquire at least the similar good quality oak logs year by year.

Governments with strict regulations are not helping the leading cooperages to have access to the most desired oak forests anymore. This forced many manufacturers to abolish the offering of the “single forest-origin barrels”. This was only just the matter of time, because the popular French oak barrel production doubled in the last 2 decades.

When we are talking about wood barrels manufactured from oak trees, what had been already existed before the Civil War – you will agree, there is a limitation of the sources in our lifetime at any given location. Without the stern government regulations, the popular harvesting regions of oak trees would look like a deserted wasteland sooner or later.

No wonder the industry is getting more tolerant. Barrels manufactured from Robur (English) or Alba (American) oak, outnumbering the Sessile production. Although these oak species are suitable for winemaking – in the traditional barrel manufacturing process – they have never been considered the finest oaks.

In the recent years many French and a few domestic cooperages, brokers started to offer Hungarian oak barrels. As you maybe heard about it, the Hungarian oak has been historically highly valued by French winemakers. It’s not a surprise, that in the recent years the Hungarian cooperages have been flooded with American and Western European business visitors who are the major consumers of the good old Eastern European Sessile oak.