Napa cooperage buys barrel-alternatives maker

NAPA -- Seguin Moreau Napa Cooperage on Friday said it is expanding further into barrel alternatives with the acquisition of Fine Northern Oak, a Wisconsin-based maker of fine-grain American oak chips and staves used to enhance wine inside tanks and older barrels.

Under the deal, the brand, equipment and existing inventory of Appleton, Wis.-based Fine Northern Oak (finenorthernoak.com) will be rolled into the France-based Seguin Moreau group, which includes a stave mill in Missouri and cooperage in Burgundy. Fine Northern Oak founder David Plumb will remain with the company, and an extended agreement was secured with the company's wood supplier, Staggemeyer Stave Mill also in Minnesota.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"We have seen the great results of Fine Northern Oak products in the marketplace and they align perfectly with Seguin Moreau’s dedication to innovative, quality products with great research and development," said Christopher Hansen, general manager of 20-year-old Seguin Moreau Napa Cooperage (707-252-3408, seguinmoreaunapa.com).

The company has developed products that maximize and speed the release of oak-flavor compounds, including vanillin and furfural, into wine based on trials of various orientations of wood grain, according to Seguin Moreau.

Philippe Michel of Oak Tradition in Walla Walla, Wash., will stay on as the Fine Northern Oak sales agent for the Pacific Northwest.


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