Ask the Sommelier  

French v. American Oak

Now that our wines have completed fermentation; we are ready to age them in oak.  At Luna we prefer French Oak.
Oak Barrel

French oak comes from white oak forests in Limousin, Alliers, Vosges, Troncais and Nevers, planted in the days of Napoleon for shipbuilding. 
Each forest produces oak that imparts slightly different nuances of flavor to the wine and slightly different densities of wood determining the rate of extraction of these flavors. Winemakers typically use a blend of wine barrels from different forests to take advantage of the unique characteristics of each.   


American white oak species are grown in Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky, Oregon, and Ohio.  White oak is preferred over red and black oak because of the high tannin content, tighter grain minimizing wine evaporation, and resistance to shrinkage preventing wine leakage after the wine is removed from a newly-filled barrel.


While both American and French oak contribute tannin and aroma, French oak contains more tannins and flavor components with less "oaky" flavor and smell than American oak. American oak has a more aggressive mouth feel and immediately apparent aroma.  

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Luna Vineyards
2921 Silverado Trail - Napa CA 94558

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Luna Vineyards | 2921 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558 | 707-255-5862 x102