Mon, 9 March 2015
The first three years of Douglas Rennie's apprenticeship involved learning to make oak barrels using only hand tools. These hand tools were treated with great respect, never placed on the ground, as they had been passed down from the men in his family. Douglas is the fourth generation to become a master cooper in his family.
After making barrels for Black and White Whiskey in Scotland Douglas made his way to California and began a new career making wine barrels for the French cooperage, Seguin Moreau.
I traveled to Seguin to interview Douglas for the Inside Winemaking Podcast and had a chance to ask him all the questions I've been saving for a true expert of oak. In this Podcast Douglas tells the story of his apprenticeship, what it means to be a master cooper, he describes the many differences between French and American oak, takes us through the process of assembling a barrel, and describes the importance of toasting the staves.