Our cooperage is located in Kentucky, in the heart of the American white oak forests. The company’s extensive history of sourcing wood from the best forests and mills assures that only the straightest fine-grained white oaks are used. To achieve consistency year-after-year, each barrel is a blend across several of the best historical sources of white oak.
At the cooperage we have implemented an extremely rigorous stave inspection protocol. Each stave is individually inspected for overall quality and grain tightness. The experience of our wood sorters allows a rigorous selection based on grain size, grain uniformity, lack of knots, mineral lines and other imperfections that could affect the integrity or appearance of the barrel. The staves are then stored in the woodyard for seasoning.
Natural seasoning is critical for American oak to achieve the best aromatic profile and softest tannins. The barrel staves are aged for a minimum of 24, 36 or 48 months in the open air. Our Kentucky wood yard is adjacent to the cooperage and provides the ideal seasoning environment in a temperate climate. The successive seasons, adequate rainfall and temperature amplitude allow the wood to slowly dry and mature. During this natural process, through the combined actions of water, sun, microorganisms and enzymatic activity, the staves acquire the desired characteristics that will give to the wine the finest aromas and tannins. Canton is the only American oak cooperage to have third-party certification of the duration of the open air-seasoning.