The original winery, built
in 1934, now serves for barrel ageing and as the Winemaker's office.
Part of the rustic interior has been left untouched as a link to
the historic past of Bouchon.
In the past, large upright
tanks, made from redwood or oak, were widely used in Sonoma County
for ageing red wine. A few oak uprights have been retained at Bouchon
for the slow, gentle ageing which they offer.
The Winemaker selects 60-gallon
barrels from oak made in the United States or France, choosing from
various forest regions within each country. Each type of oak imparts
its own delicate, distinctive flavor to the wine. The barrels are
made by hand to the winery's specifications, including the extent
to which the barrel staves are "toasted" over an open flame before
the final assembly.
The Winemaker tastes wine
from barrels at regular intervals. The frequency depends on whether
the wine is young or old, whether the barrel is new or has been
used for a year or two, and what style is intended for the wine.