Saturday, September 18, 2010

Barrel Making in Napa

For many years, I wanted to visit one of wine country's coopers to learn more about the process of making wine barrels.  Earlier this week, I finally had the opportunity; visiting Seguin Moreau Napa.  Here I learned more about the process of making barrels: from growing the oak trees, selecting the best oak, milling the wood, seasoning the wood, to assembling the barrels.  In the cooperage, I saw workers toast the barrels as well as assemble them.

Seguin Moreau is one of France's premier makers of wine barrels and has been in the Napa Valley since 1994.  Barrels are made from oak trees grown in France, Eastern Europe, Russian, and the United States.  American oak comes from forests in Missouri and the Appalachian Mountains and is seasoned in Seguin Moreau's yard near Perryville Missouri.

Unfortunately, Seguin Moreau is not open to the public so I cannot include a stop on a tour of the Napa Valley.  (I also believe none of the other cooperages admit the public.)  However, much information is available on the Seguin Moreau Napa website, including the video that I saw at the cooperage.  If you would like to learn more about the barrel making process during a private tour of the Napa Valley, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or