Wood and wine: a smoky mystery

Although the grape may take centre stage when it comes to wine-making, the tree is undoubtedly the secret weapon in the production of many wines

2nd July, 2017
Ben Bryant, chief winemaker at Jacob’s Creek, with Kevin O’Gorman, Irish Distillers’ head of maturation

There is a second, almost secret plant involved in the production of many wines. We almost fail to see it as a living entity, because it comes to the wine-making process in the form of the iconic wine barrel. That plant is the tree.

The blending of wine and wood goes back not just to the Romans (who used wooden barrels) 2,000 years ago, but to the very first ancient wineries, across the present-day Middle...

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