Cooperage today: United States

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About
The great majority of wooden barrels traded today are made in the American Midwest for the ageing of bourbon whiskey. It is estimated that in 2013 about 2 million barrels were made there, primarily by two cooperages. No one really knows how many American oak barrels are used in winemaking but it is likely that 80,000–100,000 go directly to wineries in the United States alone.
Nearly all American logs come from privately held forests in the eastern half of the United States, notably in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, the Virginias, the Carolinas, and Missouri. These logs are purchased by stave mill operators, some of whom also run cooperages. Cooperage use accounts for about 3% of all American white oak harvested every year. Most American oak is used for furniture, construction, veneer, and pulp.