â€śWine barrel artâ€ť can be defined as the broad range of aesthetic objects made from wine barrels through an artisanâ€™s skill and creative imagination. These objects make natural elements of a â€świne dĂ©corâ€ť for decorating and accessorizing wineries, tasting rooms, bars and restaurants, as well as home wine cellars and bars.
In this article we provide a brief review of wine barrel art â€“ focusing on its origins in the old world folk-art of barrel carving. In Part 2 of this article we will provide an overview of the wide range of artisan products made from wine barrels today.
Wine barrels have been around a very long time. The first recorded accounts of wood casks used for storing and transporting wine were in Babylon about 4000 years ago. However, the wine barrel we know today was most likely developed by the Celts around 400 BC, who had migrated to what is now the Burgundy region of France. They used techniques employing heat, water and pressure adapted from ship-building to shape wood staves into water-tight containers. The Romans embraced the concept and made extensive use of these barrels to transport all kinds of bulk goods around their empire, spreading the art of barrel making widely across Europe.