The Barrel Master
A giant oak barrel for storing and aging fine wine will set you back around 5000 euros in Germany so it’s no surprise to read how making them requires the skill of a master cooper like Ralf Mattern.
It’s all about precision machining of the thick section staves so their match-up is perfect, Ralf says in the video, but much of the remaining process is hand-powered. Watching how it comes together and how fire is used to bend the wood and to release a range of flavour-inducing odours are fascinating. Rye and flax flour, along with bullrush reeds are some of the other natural materials used in this ancient craft.