A little history


The Zemplén oak and cooper trade
That worth special value to have the unpedunculated oak settled in the Tokaj mountains’ higher areas as the raw material of barrel making. The wood of barrels influences the wine maturing process (oxidated maturing) and gives a pleasant effect to the aroma and colour of the drink. The ’Zemplén oak’ is well known for so long in the international wine world because the wood of Zemplén forests is medium hard, abrasopm resistant and due to its tannin contain, quite lasting.
The excellent raw material goes through the hands of famous cooper traders. The cooper ususally makes vat or barrel out of hard wood. The wheeler or hooper make smaller, every-day- used tools, like churn or tub, out of light wood. There is an expression commonly used, barrel-bind, or wine-bind in some places. The name refers to middle aged times when barrels were knitted around strong hazel-nut twigs. In the 18th century, must or wine was sold with its barrel to the Prussian and Polish traders. As a result, the low mountain coopers, living for example in Erdőbénye, were very valuable and they could hardly make enough new barrels. Regularly, they carved the barrel sides, staves out of dried oak. At the beginning, they knitted the barrels, which meant the use of knitting twigs instead of iron hoops. The use of iron hoops became general from the 18th century.
The low mountain coopers not only make barrels, but other wood products like puttony, tub, vat, butt. The dicrease of the low mountain wet cooper trade happened when the phylloxera disease went on. Then, the demand of them almost totally disappeared and bigger part of the craftsmen emigrated from the country or changed profession.
Nowadays, the trade is flowering again and the Hungarian, German, Australian, French markets all demand barrels made of Zemplén oaks. We can’t wish bigger presents from nature, then to mature our excellent Tokajian aszú wines in the low- mountain- coopers made Zemplén oak barrels.


– Kalina Kádárüzem –
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