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Wine Barrel Table

A good oak barrel makes an excellent base for a table. But why repurpose a barrel to make a table base? The answer lies in the process of winemaking.

Long ago, the Egyptians, Romans and other people around the Mediterranean stored their wine in clay amphorae. The clay bottles were easy to seal, clay was plentiful and easy to make into shapes. Some people of the area used wood from palm trees to make barrels, but it was hard to get them to bend into the barrel shape.

As the Romans traveled north, it became harder to transport wine for the troops. Wine was safer to drink than water and provided a small amount of nourishment. Clay amphorae, however, were heavy and breakable. This made them hard to transport. When Rome invaded Gaul, they encountered a people who brewed beer in wooden kegs, often made from oak. The oak was easier to make into barrels than palm. The wine transport was solved.

After a time, it was discovered that wine aged in oak barrels acquired a smoother flavor, so it became popular to age wine in oak barrels. Unfortunately, after about eight refills, the barrel would stop imparting that nice, oak influence. Some of the barrels can have a second life as containers for aging whiskey, a liquor that benefits from the wine residue in the oak. But even that use will come to an end. At this point, the barrel could be used to store rainwater or repurposed as something else, such as a planter or a table.

There is something unique about a barrel table. The oak barrels are sturdy. Some enterprising manufacturers even used the inside of the barrel as a tidy little storage area. With a nicely trimmed and hinged door, such a table is very attractive. Some barrels do not survive the repurposing intact, but that doesn’t mean that all that beautiful oak wood need go to waste. The individual staves make excellent legs for stools. The ends make good table tops and stool tops. Oak is a beautiful wood, and the oak that has its first life as a wine barrel is no exception.

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.

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