The cost of an oak barrel can vary on a one to one hundred scale: an old cask can cost much less than $100 whereas a new French oak barrel can worth up to several thousand dollars, depending on the size, the origin of the wood, etc.
Beyond the age and the number of wines that a barrel has received, the type of wood grain (its terroir) and the quality of the cooper’s work also influence the price of a barrel.
Note that the value of a new barrel will always be much higher for two principle reasons:
1- The high cost of qualified craftsmen and raw materials: cutting down, cutting up before a two year seasoning minimum… The oak used for coopering is also among the best quality available on the market, but the different coopering operations cause an 80% loss! During this laborious process, highly qualified workers take the time to make it right. A lot of the work is 100% manual and constantly needs to be double-checked. All this adds up and has a cost.
2- New barrels guarantee an optimal hygiene, along with the slow oxygenation that great winemakers need. Hence, new oak barrels have always been highly demanded by the wine industry.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch, in order to learn about the price of a barrel that suits your needs.