Behind the Bottle - The Silver Oak Wine Making Process

New Release! 2011 Alexander Valley Cabernet

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

“We have yet to make our best bottle of wine.” This is a saying we have at Silver Oak that embodies our commitment to quality, continuous improvement and excellence. Our pursuit of making our best bottle of wine continues as this year we became the sole owners of a Missouri-based cooperage we proudly call The Oak Cooperage.

David Duncan, our President, says, “We are excited to extend our philosophy of innovation and constant improvement at every step of the winemaking process to The Oak Cooperage.” The acquisition will allow us to control quality standards such as the selection, aging and toasting of our American oak barrels.

Located in Higbee, Missouri, The Oak Cooperage, previously known as A&K, has produced American oak barrels since 1972. After sourcing barrels from A&K for many years, we purchased a 50 percent interest in this cooperage in 2000. Recently, we saw full ownership as an opportunity to maintain exacting barrel-making standards and secure a consistent supply of aged stave wood.

Tony LeBlanc, our General Manager, says, “We feel that white oak from the geographic area around the cooperage gives us the oak flavor profile and textural components that best complement our wines.” As sole owner of The Oak Cooperage, we will continue to focus on the quality and consistency of our classic 59-gallon American oak wine barrels. Each one of our wine barrels is hand-crafted by a team of highly skilled, hard-working men and women. Tony continues, “We have a great team at this cooperage, and we are excited about preserving and continuing this time-honored craft.”

We look forward to the possibilities this opportunity brings us, and we cannot wait to age our Silver Oak Cabernet in our very own barrels from The Oak.

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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