Many of you have the good fortune to be living in a market that aired Episode 1 of Rough Cut’s much-anticipated 3rd Season. We hope you enjoyed the start of this season’s woodworking adventures!

Given that some of you are on a slight delay, we won’t include any spoilers here, but we thought we’d take a little closer look at one aspect of the episode.

During Tommy’s Road Trip to Napa and the Seguin Moreau cooperage, Master Cooper Douglas Rennie mentions that the wood for the wine barrels they make is all white oak and that it comes from a number of different sources. The board in his hand, however, comes from a specific forest in France called Haute Futaie. Tommy is taken by the long, straight grain of the Haute Futaie board he’s holding.

Haute Futaie — French for “high forest” — is a government-cultivated “superior growth” oak forest that produces exceptionally tall and straight oaks. The forest caretakers ensure that lower brush stays cleared and the trees are spaced to allow for strong sunlight and uninhibited growth. According to one source, the Haute Futaie forests are a legacy of King Philippe IV, who created an order of “Masters of Rivers and Forests” eight centuries ago.

The timber that Rennie uses comes from trees that are as old as 200 years. Not only does the management of the oaks produce tight grains, it also results in a more aromatic oak with tannins that play well off the tannins of the grapes. In other words, they are perfect for wines.

Here’s a short video interview with Rennie in which he discusses his cooperage’s use of Haute Futaie.

Fun Fact: Did you know that law requires all bourbon in the United States to be barreled in American white oak?