Barrels

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

Hoffmeister Barrelworks builds barrels and customers with the same goal — to stand the test of time.

We currently offer 225-liter (59 gallon) American and French Oak barrels made in the Bordeaux style.  The staves originate from Missouri, are cut at a longstanding local stave mill, and then loosely stacked and air dried in Missouri.

Why Missouri? The geology and terrain in Missouri dictate slow growth for its white oak trees; this results in superior stave density for wine storage. More importantly, the flavors extracted from Missouri oak consistently put these staves in demand the world over. A century ago, barrels were made all across the United States. As time wore on, our ancestors found that the barrels made in Missouri consistently provided the best flavors.

The combination of the stacking methodology and the highly variable weather in Missouri wash the tannins and soften the oak profile which optimizes the potential of each barrel.

Every stave is visually inspected for knots, checking, and other imperfections which could result in a leak.  After stave inspection, the barrel is raised and then fire-bent in the traditional coopering methodology over a wood fire.  After bending, the barrel is returned to the wood burning fire for toasting or charring.  Using these time-tested methods takes time and effort, but it ensures the optimal flavor profile is achieved.

Our barrel heads are constructed using dowel pins and compression; most of the larger cooperages use glue, nails or tongue and groove to produce their heads.  Once constructed, our heads are toasted on wood fires and fitted to the barrel. Following the union of the heads with the barrel, all barrels are pressure tested and visually inspected for any micro fractures in the staves.  If the barrel passes the pressure test and visual inspection, it is passed along for the final steps.

The last steps include barrel sanding, adding finish hoops, setting hoop nails to hold the hoops in position, branding, sulfuring and stretch wrapping.  The stretch wrap helps keep the moisture content of the barrel close to what it was at the time of construction – which minimizes the amount of shrinkage and therefore the potential for leakage.

The result of these hand-crafted steps is an outstanding American Oak barrel.

“Hand-Crafted; Slow-Toasted”