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Swine, Wine and Barrels

The Internet is quite interesting. Connections are made where one may never thought to have looked. Recently a link to Barrel Making, one of the Wine Trail Traveler learning modules, was made from the blog  Avebury Chat. Avebury is a village about 84 miles west of London. When I searched the forum for wine, the word swine appeared in several discussions. When I think about swine and wine, I do see a connection between swine and a bottle of Chianti. The discussion at hand though led to a question of wooden hoops used on barrels instead of metal hoops.

My understanding is that wooden hoops today are used more for aesthetic purposes.  At one time however, cellar masters, to watch for signs of insects and rodents, may have used barrels with wooden hoops. The wood used for a hoop is softer than the wooden staves of the barrel. Insects and rodents will chew on the softer wood first, thereby giving the cellar master a heads up to a potential problem.

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