Information on our Barrels
We manufacture our barrels from the best quality oak grown in the Zemplen Forest of Hungary. This is the same Quercus Petrea species of oak as the tight grained white oak of Nevers and Allier of France. We have factory prices. The staves are air dried for three years. We toast your barrels according to your personal preference. Our barrels are made from hundred year old trees that are grown on the steep rocky hillside of the Zemplen Forest of Hungary. The mountain soil in this area contains a unique mineral content. The barrels from this oak are excellent for creating ultra premium and luxury wines.
Eastern European Oak - A Brief History
Oak, particularly from Hungary, was highly prized by barrel coopers during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The oak species from Northern Portugal up through France to the Baltic States and down through Hungary and Romania, belong to the Quercus Petrea / Sessiles families species of oak.
Yet a good deal of diversity in flavor and structure is evident depending on the precise microclimate, soil structure ( mineral content) and density in which the trees grow.
Traditionally, the Hungarian oak located in the Zemplen and Tokaj Forest was highly sought after by French coopers. Winemakers preferred the softer, smoother texture that the Hungarian oak added to their wines, perhaps because less charring of the barrels was practiced. The substitution of French oak for Baltic and Hungarian oak was prompted by political difficulties, including the Napoleonic Wars. A ready supply of Hungarian oak became available in the period spanning the late nineteenth century up to World War II, only to be cut off by changing political realities again. Only recently, trade has been reestablished with French coopers and the distribution of Hungarian barrels has begun in different parts of Europe, the U.S., Australia and other parts of the world.
U.S. Winemakers Comments on our Hungarian Zemplen Forest Oak Barrels
Many winemakers in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho who are using our barrels have had many favorable comments on the resulting aromas and tastes of the various wines produced in our barrels. We sell our barrels in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Canada.
Please contact us if you would like any references.