ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

How old are the oak trees when they are used for barrels? I’ve been told that they can be close to 100 years old before they are used.

—Pat W., Ontario, Canada

Dear Pat,

Yes, that sounds about right. I’ve heard as young as 60 to 80 years, and as old as 150 to 200 years. Mature trees have a tight grain to them, which is ideal for barrel usage. Depending on the size of the tree and the size of the barrels, a cooper can make from one to three barrels from a single oak tree.

—Dr. Vinny


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