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Barrel Associates

Founded over 30 years ago, and now in their third generation of family leadership, Barrel Associates International leads the barrel industry by consistently crafting the highest quality American oak barrels. Our premium wood sources and three unique production methods of Fire Bent, Water Bent, and Deep Toast, offer winemakers flavor profiles and texture for every style of winemaking. We are honored that prestigious wineries around the world have un-wavering confidence in our barrels. Winemakers looking for unparalleled quality, can expect Barrel Associates International, to deliver, every time.

Available in: Water Bent, Fire Bent, Deep Toast.

man working on barrels
Fresno cooperage

Barrel Associates is the only cooper to employ three distinct bending regimes to effect flavor profiles winemakers can achieve with American oak barrels: fire bent, water bent and our proprietary bending regime: deep toast.

Fire Bent

bent barrel

Heat generated by an oak-fueled fire has long-served as the traditional method of bending barrel staves from a rose shape into a barrel shape. The amount of fire employed, altered by the shape and size of the brazier used, helps to create the “signature” flavor of the cooper. Our wood fires at Barrel Associates
are made from the off-fall when we trim the seasoned staves before jointing. Just as the oak used in our barrels is seasoned over 24 months, so is the wood used in our fires. We measure the outside temperature of each barrel as it undergoes the toasting process so that we may replicate your perfect toast level year to year.

Water Bent

steam on barrel

Premium water bent barrels employ the same production methods of some of the
most renowned French Cooperages. The heat from boiling water allows the barrel staves to become supple enough to be bent from a rose shape into a barrel shape. This bending method has downstream benefits for the winemaker. When the water bent barrel is toasted, the pores - opened in the water bath - allow for increased depth of heat into the stave. This depth creates a flavor profile that is very different from fire bent barrels. If freshness and fruitiness are what you are seeking, this is your barrel.

Deep Toast

deep toasting a barrel

A breakthrough method created by the founders of Barrel Associates, Deep Toast was first invented in 1995 and then launched in 1998. This proprietary manufacturing process employs both fire and water to raise the stave wood temperature beyond that of our other two methods. This special combination enhances the flavor profile of the barrel and extends its performance life beyond that of any of our competitors. Winemakers have described this barrel as having “the most French-like qualities of any American oak barrel [they] have ever tasted."

US map


Minnesota oak typically has wider variable grain width due to a short Spring season and frequent Summer rain. Minnesota (Northern) wood imparts richer, bolder flavors into the wine with pronounced creamy vanilla and maple bar characteristics. Shadings of cardamom, almond and caramel derive from the (mostly) granite soils in the Northern climate.

Missouri (or Ozark) oak typically has a finer grain due to the longer spring growing season and imparts finer, more subtle American oak flavor with hints of spice and caramel. Delicate notes of cinnamon, walnut and chocolate derive from the widest National temperature spread (Summer heat, Winter cold) and Southern Missouri’s limestone soils.

Available in: 114L, 225L (90cm or 95cm), 265L or 300L

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