Silver Oak has acquired full ownership of Missouri-based A&K Cooperage, becoming the first North American winery to own and operate an American oak cooperage. Having purchased a 50 percent interest in the cooperage in 2000, Silver Oak saw full ownership as an opportunity to maintain exacting barrel-making standards and secure a consistent supply of aged stave wood.
While Silver Oak has focused exclusively on Cabernet Sauvignon aged in American oak barrels since 1972, the opportunity comes amidst a dramatic increase in demand for premium American white oak, fueled by the international market as well as the rise in U.S.-produced artisanal whiskeys and bourbons.
“We are excited to extend our philosophy of innovation and constant improvement at every step of the winemaking process to The Oak Cooperage,” said Silver Oak President & CEO David Duncan, who notes that the acquisition will allow Silver Oak’s winemakers to control quality standards such as the selection, aging and toasting of its American oak barrels. “Having control over our oak barrel needs and production makes complete sense from both an excellence and cost control standpoint.”
Located in Higbee, Missouri, the cooperage has produced American oak barrels, primarily for wineries, since 1972. After partnering in 2000, Silver Oak and the cooperage jointly purchased several hundred acres of prime Missouri oak timberland.
“We feel that white oak from the geographic area around the cooperage gives us the oak flavor profile and textural components that best complement our wines,” says Silver Oak General Manager Tony LeBlanc. As sole owner of The Oak Cooperage, LeBlanc says that Silver Oak will continue to focus on the quality and consistency of its classic 59-gallon American oak wine barrels, prior to expanding into other categories. “We have a great team at the cooperage, and we are excited about preserving and continuing this time-honored craft.”
About Silver Oak, Twomey and The Oak Cooperage
Silver Oak is a leading producer of food-friendly Cabernet Sauvignon aged extensively to be drinkable upon release. Established in 1972, Silver Oak is still owned and operated by the Duncan family, who also founded Twomey Cellars, a producer of six distinct California Pinot Noirs, an estate Sauvignon Blanc, and a single vineyard Merlot in consultation with Chateau Petrus legend Jean Claude Berrouet. With four winemaking facilities and tasting rooms located in the Napa Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley, 15 estate vineyards, The Oak Cooperage, and a team of world class people, the Duncan family is committed to innovative and sustainable viticulture and winery management practices that result in wines of the highest quality and distinction.