Cooperage: a living tradition
A perfect example of us maintaining our traditions is the fact that we continue to use our own cooperage, making us the only bodega in Spain to hand-craft all the barrels used to age its wines.
Since our great-grandfather founded the Bodega in Haro, in 1877, the cooperage has formed an important link in the process of producing fine high-quality wines. The unchanging craft of working the oak is carried out every day - not only for the sake of tradition but also as a necessary and essential part of achieving wines with the kind of personal characteristic for which we strive in our wines.
Master cooper trimming the head with an adze
A further effort to be proud of
Historically most of the bodegas making high quality wines used barrels to age their wines, and this has been an important factor in their success. Many of these bodegas used to have their own cooperage, but, for commercial reasons, most of them now buy barrels.
We continue to use our own workshop, which requires a significant additional effort; but this is worthwhile, because of our understanding of and commitment in the whole barrel making process. From the purchase of the wood at its source (naturally-grown oak, all from the Appalachian mountains in the United States) to the construction and assembling of the barrel with its hoops, through the intervening processes (sawing, drying/ curing, toasting)…
This said, we do not wish to turn cooperage into a science: our purpose is primarily to pass on to the consumer little-known information on the whole process of producing wine and in turn to show the approaches that we use in López de Heredia when choosing wood, contributing, we believe, to a better understanding of the properties of our wines.