OK. So it’s a little wonky. But it will look great on your Thanksgiving table. And it’s green. Why? Well that requires a little info about wine barrels…
To the best of our knowledge, the only truly sustainable wine barrels are the French ones. The French realized long ago (remember, they’ve been making wine for 700 years so they have a bit of a headstart) that if they just sawed through their oak forests, before long they would be out. Which means no more new barrels… which means less tasty wine… which ultimately means more depressed Frenchmen. So…they developed a system for farming oak for their barrels that is sustainable.
But, many wineries only use barrels for a few years. The new style of winemaking (popular in the “New World“) utilizes a lot of new oak that’s highly toasted to maximize extraction and integration of oak flavors in the wine. But each year the barrels lose significant flavor. Most wineries will have some kind of rotation to ensure that any given vintage has sat in barrels that are at most 1, 2, 3 or years old. However, once barrels hit that post-3 year point, they really don’t have much of the vanilla, cinnamon, toast and other flavors that newer barrels exude.
So, in the end, there are a bunch of barrels out there that are made from high quality hardwood oak – but are wine stained and virtually worthless for anything else save winery furniture.
And now, candle holders.
P.S. – a stave is one of the single pieces of wood in a barrel.
P.P.S. – to get a handle on new vs. old world styles, see the movie Mondovino