It Must Be Harvest Time: Wine Barrels Are In!

At Borderline Shepco, we stock the equipment to help Niagara wineries survive harvest time.

You can often tell the turn of seasons is upon us by examining the goods displayed in store windows.

Gone are summer’s fine fabrics and pool toys, and now on display we see knapsacks, sweaters and other gear for back-to-school time.

It’s much the same in our Shepco (Borderline Systems Niagara Inc.) warehouse.

When the autumn and winter supplies begin rolling in, we know our client families are preparing for sales campaigns honouring seasonal change.

Recently, we have taken shipments of winemaking supplies and equipment, which tells us the time for grape harvest is drawing nigh.

Swentech International contributes bottles; barrels; additives; corks; caps and other supplies for Canadian wineries, while Bouchard Cooperages offers oak barrels created in the French tradition to house fine Niagara wines and spirits.

On average, Borderline-Shepco will carry between 1,500 and 2,000 barrels each autumn from Bouchard. When you think of the number of Niagara wineries and distilleries using these barrels, that seems like a pretty small number.

Remember, though, that not every winery in Niagara uses barrels. Those that do require the very best in supplies, and that’s what we endeavour to stock in our warehouse.

It’s good to know our Niagara wineries want the very best to support each harvest, because each year offers different growing conditions, producing different qualities in each year’s vintages.

Why do cooperages use oak for wine barrels? Borderline-Shepco team members checked into the history, because we were curious, and we like to be aware of the reasoning behind our client families’ needs.

Without getting too history-lessonish, way back in Roman times (the Roman Empire ran from about 27 BC to approximately 1450 AD), tradespeople encountered the Gauls (now France), a people who were using wooden barrels to transport beer. The Roman people began to harvest oak to make barrels, as oak was abundant in European forests and created a watertight barrel, due to its tight grain. For the Romans, using oak solved the difficulties caused by transporting wine across the empire in clay amphorae, or large jars.

Also, barrels could be reused, by drying them out and re-toasting the insides. It was a thrifty way to operate. A curious side-effect would occur, too: The longer the wine merchants left the wine in the barrels, the better it tasted. Aging wine in oak lent it new, subtle flavours, like caramel, vanilla, or even a “buttery” taste. 

Today, Niagara’s wine producers use some of the same barrel techniques for aging our fine wines, aiming for a softening and a subtle change of flavour to whatever harvest Mother Nature has provided.

Since we are fully appreciative of all the hard work that goes into producing Niagara’s liquid bounty, our Borderline-Shepco team is proud to support our winery client families as harvest time approaches.

For barrels and other winemaking supplies and equipment, we are your go-to supplier in Niagara.

For more information about the Roman Empire, visit Ancient History Encyclopedia, HERE. To find out why wine is aged in oak barrels, visit VinePair, HERE.

Want to know more about Shepco’s warehousing, packaging and fulfillment systems? Reach us by phone at 905-687-4014, or send us a message via the contact page on our website, HERE.

We’re Shepco Warehouse Services, a division of Borderline Systems Niagara Inc. … where our family of team members has been keeping your family of team members happy, since 1956.