Silver Oak has acquired full ownership of Missouri-based A&K Cooperage, becoming the first North American winery to own and operate an American oak cooperage. Having purchased a 50 percent interest in the cooperage in 2000, Silver Oak saw full ownership as an opportunity to maintain exacting barrel-making standards and secure a consistent supply of aged stave wood.
While Silver Oak has focused exclusively on Cabernet Sauvignon aged in American oak barrels since 1972, the opportunity comes amidst a dramatic increase in demand for premium American white oak, fueled by the international market as well as the rise in U.S.-produced artisanal whiskeys and bourbons.
“We are excited to extend our philosophy of innovation and constant improvement at every step of the winemaking process to The Oak Cooperage,” said Silver Oak President & CEO David Duncan, who notes that the acquisition will allow Silver Oak’s winemakers to control quality standards such as the selection, aging and toasting of its American oak barrels. “Having control over our oak barrel needs and production makes complete sense from both an excellence and cost control standpoint.”
Located in Higbee, Missouri, the cooperage has produced American oak barrels, primarily for wineries, since 1972. After partnering in 2000, Silver Oak and the cooperage jointly purchased several hundred acres of prime Missouri oak timberland.
“We feel that white oak from the geographic area around the cooperage gives us the oak flavor profile and textural components that best complement our wines,” says Silver Oak General Manager Tony LeBlanc. As sole owner of The Oak Cooperage, LeBlanc says that Silver Oak will continue to focus on the quality and consistency of its classic 59-gallon American oak wine barrels, prior to expanding into other categories. “We have a great team at the cooperage, and we are excited about preserving and continuing this time-honored craft.”
posted by Andrea Gonzalez by 05/26/15