Winegrowing and winemaking are, and always have been, professions guided by nature—the climate and terroir. Combined with our ever-increasing environmental awareness, there are more of us accepting our responsibility as stewards of the land not only to produce delicious and high-quality wine, but ensuring that we do it in a way that is safe and dictates a long and bountiful future for our planet and future generations. One of the natural products used in winemaking is the oak barrel, which is made with wood harvested from distinct forests in France, America and Hungary. Barrels are only used for about 3-5 vintages on average, so what happens to them when their useful life is done?
The most popular and distinguished wood for barrel-making comes from forests of France, including Limousin, Alliers, Vosges, Troncais and Nevers. American oak is also used, but it depends on the style of wine that is being made, due to the infusion of strong dill, vanilla and coconut flavors. While these places have implemented sustainability practices to allow forests to replenish and thrive into the future, there is still more we can do at the end of the barrel’s life cycle in the form of “repurposing.”
The wine stained barrels, toasted in the winemaking process, have a variety of oak hues with natural color contrasts. Each intriguing furniture piece made from recycled barrels has distinctive markings, brilliant wood grain, and occasionally preserves the original cooperage imprints.
The result is a romantic collection of tables, bar stools, wine racks and entertaining accessories to suit any wine lover’s palate. Environmentally friendly pieces are truly one-of-a-kind, and sure to add warmth to any décor.