Trend for unoaked wine is not good for barrel makers
Spare a thought for the barrel makers if you always pick an unoaked wine over an oaked wine. At Vicard, a leading barrel maker based in Cognac, sales have fallen from 50,000 barrels a year in 2008 to 40,000 in 2012. Vicard is the largest single-site cooperage in France and they say the trend for fruit forward wines, designed to be drunk young isn't working in their favour. In 2008, 3% of the world’s global wine production was aged in barrel, now it’s just 2%.
To combat the problem, Vicard has developed a sophisticated toasting system where clients can order barrels made to their desired level of toasting. The lightly toasted barrels are doing really well as the presence of oak is very subtle in the final wine. And with fewer wines being aged in oak, in order to survive as a cooperage business you have to be flexible and offer alternatives, they say.