Wine 101: Wine Barrels – Part 2

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Wanda Haynes, Certified Sommelier Wine Barrels& After the trees are chopped down its time to make the staves. Staves are the curved pieces of wood used to make a wine barrel. Wine barrel staves are stacked outdoors on pallets to dry for two or more years. Every wine barrel has& 32 staves& carefully arranged in a specific pattern. Each stave varies slightly in width, and it must be performed by a professional. A person that makes wooden barrels for wine are referred to as “coopers”. Cooperage is the art of barrel making and is a highly specialized talent.& The cooper also uses& hoops made of steel and aluminum to produce the wine barrels. These hoops encircle the barrel for stability and longevity. What is toasting?& After a barrel is built then the inside is exposed to fire and referred to as “toasting”. This is achieved by using open flames or by using a hand-held torch. The degrees of toasting range from light to heavy and each level determines tastes. Light Toasting – vanilla, coconut, caramel, clove, and cinnamon. Medium Toasting – vanilla, honey, caramel, toast, coffee, and cocoa. Heavy Toasting – vanilla, espresso, smoke, butterscotch, toffee, and molasses. How long...