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French oak remains favourite barrel type among US producers

The results from this year’s US Wine Business Monthly Barrel Survey are in but the most significant results have been dwarfed by the news of the damaged caused by the August earthquake in South Napa.

The estimates, as of press time, are that the temblor caused more than $80 million in damage to the wine industry (out of an estimated $400m overall).

A good deal of the wine industry-specific damage was due to lost wine and broken barrels. It is likely that any of the affected wineries will have thrown out their 2014 barrel purchasing plan and are currently scrambling to see if they have enough cooperage on hand to deal with the current harvest.

Normally US WBM doesn’t ask the same questions in consecutive surveys, but several of the questions from the 2013 survey bore repeating to verify if some of the 2013 results were anomalous or signalled some new trends.

US WBM asked several questions specifically about barrels for Cabernet Sauvignon and the most notable findings from this year’s survey were:

  • French oak remains the most popular and most highly regarded barrel type
  • The average percentages of new oak barrels remains at 44 per cent
  • The average time wineries are keeping barrels for white wines has crept up from three-and-a-half to five years
  • The length of time a Cabernet Sauvignon spends in barrel tends to increase as the price increases.

Full results of the survey are published in the November 2014 issue of US Wine Business Monthly magazine. http://www.winebusiness.com/wbm/





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