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European Coopers Hungary - 100% Hungarian Oak


European Coopers Hungary was founded in 1997 by Master Cooper Kristóf Flódung together with renowned representatives of the Italian wine industry including Piero Antinori from Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori, Eugenio Gamba from Piemonte's Botti Gamba and Jacopo Mazzei from Tuscany. Kristóf had already worked in the cooperage industry for decades at the renowned Rieger large format cooperage. The goal of European Coopers Hungary was to produce high-quality barrels for noble Italian wines. 



European Coopers Hungary produces roughly 5,000 barrels a year at their Southern Hungary facility located in Palotabozsok where coopering has a long tradition. Since it's inception of coopering barrels meant for noble Italian wines, the cooperage has expanded production for export markets and employs a team of 10 coopers. Kristóf oversees all technical aspects of the cooperage while Dr. Katalin Pintacsi oversees daily activities. 

The Cooperage:

European Coopers Hungary has its stave mill on-site and therefore oversees the entire barrel-making process from the selection of the logs, splitting of the oak, air drying of the staves, and ultimately production of the barrels. 100% Hungarian Quercus Patraea oak (same species as French oak) is sourced from two locations in Hungary including the Zemplén Mountains in Northern Hungary and the Mecsek Mountains in Southern Hungary. 



Staves are stacked three levels high and left to season naturally outside of the cooperage for a minimum of three years before coopering to remove the harsher tannins. Barrels at European Coopers Hungary are fire-bent and either fire-toasted using pieces of oak from the same logs the staves are made from, or convection-toasted. To ensure consistency at toasting, only several coopers manage the toasting room. 


The European Coopers Hungary's traditional range includes 100% Hungarian oak barrels and puncheons (225/228L - 500L) where the level of air drying is 3 years. Toasting profile ranges from L, LL, M, ML, M+, and Heavy. The Hungarian Blend includes 50% Mecsek and 50% Tokay however 100% tight-grain Tokay oak can be selected for a surcharge. The special Kristof label barrel represents European Coopers Hungary's premier barrel and is the tightest grain selection of Mecsek and Tokay oak. For white or light red wines, European Coopers Hungary convection-based Radiant White and Red toast can be used to better promote fruit notes. 

Why European Coopers Hungary? 

100% Hungarian Quercus Patraea oak has more accentuated and darker spice characteristics than French oak and the descriptor of "Christmas Spice" is often used to describe the barrel's stylistically.


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