Behind the Bottle - The Silver Oak Wine Making Process

New Release - 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Behind the Bottle

What Goes Into a Bottle of Silver Oak?

Wine is a subjective, personal experience. Like fine art or music, each person can and will experience wine in a different way. While some find joy in a deep and complex evaluation of wine, most find the key question to evaluate a wine is: Do you like it? With this in mind, we enjoy greeting guests at our Tasting Room or on the road and sharing our unique experience that is Silver Oak.

Here is what it takes to be in a Silver Oak bottle:

Our Grapes: Carefully Selected Growers & Vineyards

Silver Oak complements winery-owned fruit with grapes from top independent growers throughout the Napa and Alexander Valley appellations, giving our winemaking team access to the highest-caliber fruit to make Cabernet of the finest quality.

Our American Oak Barrels: A Hallmark of Silver Oak

Since the early 1970s, we have aged our wines exclusively in American oak barrels. Today, the use of American oak continues to be a hallmark of our distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons. To ensure the long-term availability of first-rate American oak barrels, we formed a partnership with A & K Cooperage in 2000. Located in Higbee, Missouri, 40 miles north of Columbia, A & K Cooperage is a small, family-owned company that has produced premium barrels for over 30 years. It takes 80 years to grow an American white oak to maturity and another two years to properly age the wood. From there, the wood is toasted to our specifications and handcrafted into a 59-gallon barrel. All in all, the year on a bottle of Silver Oak doesn’t tell the whole story – you’ll want to add at least 82 years to get the true birth date.

According to winemaker Daniel Baron, “Silver Oak wines undergo an extensive aging process to achieve their opulent, well-rounded flavors, so the quality of our barrels is essential. The Missouri white oak barrels produced by A & K have the perfect balance of spice and vanilla flavors to enhance the black-fruit characters of our wines.”

A & K Cooperage and Silver Oak Cellars have purchased several hundred acres of American white oak timberland in Missouri. The timber will be harvested at the optimum time to maintain a constant supply of wood for many years to come.

Our Corks: A Commitment to Quality

No detail goes overlooked in our pursuit of excellent wine, and that includes cork quality. Associate Winemaker Christiane Schleussner pioneered the use of the “dry soak” method with a team of researchers from Cork Supply USA, and this method has given Silver Oak one of the lowest cork taint rates on large-format bottles in the wine industry: 0.53% cork taint versus the 4% industry standard.

Our Extended Bottle Aging Method

Bottle shock is real. It takes a full-bodied red wine 12 months to fully recover and show the full expression of fruit that it had before bottling. We give wine more time in the bottle, and the end result is a food-friendly, moderate-alcohol (13–14.1%) Cabernet that is drinkable upon release.

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