Since antiquity, various types of wood from the tree species acacia, eucalyptus, chestnut, cherry, palm, pine and cedar have been used for the production of wine barrels. In ancient Greece, wooden barrels were barely known, but the Greek historian Herodotus (482-425 BC) reports of such in the city Babylon made of palm wood. It is considered pretty sure that the Celts Two to a millennium BC, wooden barrels were used for transport and the Romans took over this artifice from them. The most suitable wood for wine storage or the Barrique but that is the oak. It is one of the hardest woods, is tough, very durable and still easy to work. In addition, the way through the wood is denied by the nature of the annular pores fluids. This is ideal for the construction of vessels of all kinds, especially for barrels.
Last but not least, oak wood has a natural affinity for wine. The French have recognized this very early on and have been using it for centuries for the barrel type created in Bordeaux Barrique, Worldwide there are about 300 species of oak, but only three to taxonomic Genus Quercus counting white oak species are used for the wooden barrels. Two of them are growing in Europe. This is the winter oak, holm oak or sessile oak (Quercus sessiliflora or petraea), as well as the Sommereiche or pedunculate oak (Quercus robur or pedunculata). The third is the American white oak (Quercus alba) with numerous species. As a rule, the American oak wood produces stronger astringent and more aromatic wines than the European one. For completeness, the oak species Quercus suber is mentioned, from the bark of the cork come.
The oak barrels use wood from trees that are at least 80 to 100 years old. After completion, they will be the toasting (Cup burn) subjected. It is differentiated into three groups of wood phenols, which in the Barrique get into the wine. The primary ones are leached directly, the secondary ones are formed from the wood phenols chemically and microbially, and third there are some which are produced by dismantling the oak wood component lignin arise. Among the most important of these aromatic substances count Eugenole. furfural. lactones. tannins. terpenes and vanillin, Fine-pored woods give these substances slowly and in lesser amounts and coarse-pored quickly and in greater quantities. The grain size is expressed in French for example in a fine-pored wood with "grain fin" and in a coarse-pored wood with "grain gros".
Until the beginning of the 20th century, oak came mainly from Poland, Latvia and Estonia. Today, the woods come mainly from France and North America. The American oaks of the species Quercus alba grow mainly in the dry forests of eastern North America. The main producing states are Arkansas, Iowa,...