After lunch back at the college we headed to Dargault & Jaegle, the large local barrel maker. This trip made a welcome change from yet another tasting, despite our growing love for the local wine. Katerina lectured us on how carefully their wood was selected and seasoned (outside for up to 3 years). The expense of the barrels is explained largely by wood input costs: with a cubic meter of wood (making 9-10 barrels) costing EUR3200-3500, the cost of raw materials per barrel is around EUR350.
More impressive for us was the processing which started with fashioning staves into subtle shapes by huge computer controlled machines. Then a wide array of large, powerful and complex machines ably assisted by a horde of coopers turns these staves and some metal bands into beautiful and functionally perfect barrels of varying types depending on the client’s demand.