The earliest records of drinking wine dates back to the 6000 to 4000BC in Mesopotamia and near the Caspian Sea. The use of wooden buckets for wine began in 2690 Egypt. Closed barrel use dates back to 800 to 900 BC and the use of these barrels for wine, as well as other liquids, dates to 1 BC. It was quickly discovered that wine benefited from being aged in a barrel made of wood. The practice continues today. Find out about the benefits of oak barrel wine in this article.
Tannin helps the wine to age. While some of the tannin does come from the grapes, at least one percent of the tannin comes from barrels made with American oak while eight percent comes from the oak barrel made with French oak. The wood of the barrel is carefully prepared to control the level of tannin in the wood by being toasted at certain temperatures as well as seasoned.
The wood of the barrel contains certain flavours that come from the method of toasting as well as from the wood itself. One of these flavours is vanilla. The vanilla taste is released by the oak barrel as it breaks down while holding the wine. The flavours go into the wine, influencing its taste. Wood sugar Wood sugar is also present in the wood of the barrel. As the wood breaks down, these sugars are introduced into the wine, adding different levels to the taste. Helping to reach the precise amount of sugar released begins with the preparation of the wood as it's being made into barrels (the toasting, seasoning, the manner in which the wood is bent, etc). After a time, the wine barrel loses its ability to influence the flavour of the wine. Some wineries use the red wine barrels only five years and barrels for white wine only seven years. After that time, the barrel serves more as storage than for ageing the wine.
Oak barrel A certain about of air in the wine is necessary to help with the ageing process. By using an oak barrel, which is naturally semi porous (as seen through a microscope), a certain amount of air enters the wine, helping it to undergo the chemical changes needed to turn grape juice into wine. The level of the wine in the barrel helps the process as well. A certain amount of airspace is allowed, meaning that the barrelled wine is not filled to the top. This allows some air to be present between the top of the wine and the barrel's lid.