McMinnville, Oregon. A step in the winemaking process that is often overlooked, is the role of the barrel maker, referred to as the cooper. Rick DeFerrari, of Oregon Barrel Works, started learning how to make barrels back in 1992 where he apprenticed at the century old French cooperage François Frères in Burgundy.
Most wine barrels are made from oak and DeFerrari uses primarily French Oak and Oregon Oak woods. "All of our French wood comes from government owned land. The French have done a good job of managing their oak forests. Finland and France are the only 2 European countries that have an increasing land base for forestry. And all the wood is meticulously manicured; when the French government gets ready to sell a piece of land, they have an auction and the highest bidder gets those trees.", says DeFerrari.
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