Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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wood has been the most popular material for wine containers both for transport and storage for centuries and even today trees are almost as important to some wines as vines. Merchants in Ancient armenia shipped wine down the Tigris in palm-wood casks seven centuries bc, according to herodotus. Wooden barrels eventually succeeded amphorae as containers for both shipping and storage in the 3rd century ad.

It was not until the mid 20th century, however, that wood was irrevocably replaced by the bottle and tanker for transport and widely replaced by inert materials such as concrete and stainless steel for storage and fermentation.