California cooper to close

A leading California coopers has just announced it is closing in March next year – because of the increasing popularity of oak staves.

Brown Forman has decided to close its Mendocino Cooperage in Hopland, California as soon as all existing orders are filled. According Bill Coleman, president of Brown-Foreman Cooperages, the plant was no longer profitable.

He cited recent trends away from barrels in California winemaking as the reason for the shutdown.

‘Recent changes in the California wine industry, especially the move by many wineries to use barrel alternatives such as oak staves to achieve their desired taste profile, prompted us to make the difficult decision to close Mendocino Cooperage,’ Coleman said

Oak staves and other alternatives such as different flavored oak chips are cheaper alternatives to ageing wine in oak barrels. While their use has become standard practice in winemaking in the New World, they are not permitted in most European countries.

Written by Kerin O’Keefe

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