What is a Cooper?

A Cooper is a person who makes the wooden staved vessels or barrels used in winemaking. The word comes from Dutch which means “basket, wood, tub”. Anything that is produced by a cooper is referred to as cooperage. With the advances in every facet of culture, it is surprising to learn the actual barrel making process has changed very little. Though to achieve the highest standards of quality, the time intensive work must still be performed by the hands of a skilled cooper.

Today, the profession of a cooper is known and assisted with the wine and spirits industry. In the late 1800s in Europe and other countries, there were many goods that were shipped and stored in barrels besides alcohol such as dry goods such as cereals, nails, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. Barrels were also called casks, tuns, kegs or hogsheads depending on the area of the world and the size of the container.

There are many museums that you can visit that display the craftsmanship and tools of an ancient and modern day Cooper.

Make sure to check out Messina Hof’s blogs for great information on wine trends and more!

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