Barrels Unlimited operates a state-of- the-art cooperage in Fresno, California. Since opening in 1994, the cooperage has produced quality oak wine barrels that are marketed by Napa-headquartered Barrel Associates International.
All of the barrels created at the cooperage are handmade in the Bordeaux style from air-dried American Oak. Stringent specifications must be met every step of the way in order to pass strict quality control standards set for the cooperage. The result? A high-quality, beautifully-handcrafted barrel each and every time.
STEP 01: It takes a minimum of two years for the oak wood to age. After the aging process, staves are cut to proper lengths and are jointed precisely for the barrel size.
STEP 02: Staves are meticulously chosen and arranged by hand in a specific pattern to create the perfect oak barrel.
STEP 03: Temporary hoops are placed on the barrel to hold the staves together for toasting.
STEP 04: Oak barrels are toasted to any specification. Whether they’re lightly toasted, medium toasted or heavy-toasted, they are placed over fire during the process of crafting high-quality barrels.
STEP 05: After the custom toasting, the oak barrels sit to cool until the next day when they are crozed (custom cut).
STEP 06: The inside of the oak barrel is crozed so the barrelhead can be fitted.
STEP 07: Reeds are carefully hand-selected for the heads.
STEP 08: Nails and reeds are placed into heads and leveled out. Clients may also request that the heads be toasted.
STEP 09: Barrels are carefully examined and put through an extensive pressure test to ensure each client receives nothing less than a perfect oak barrel.
STEP 10: Galvanized hoops securely placed add another element of beauty and quality to each oak barrel.
STEP 11: Just as barrels and heads are toasted, the bunghole of the oak barrel is cauterized to ensure a tight seal by the bung, ensuring the final product meets client expectations.
STEP 12: The barrels are carefully sanded by hand to produce a furniture-quality oak barrel.
STEP 13: The complete, beautiful oak barrels are shrink-wrapped and placed in a humidified room until they are ready to be shipped.