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The oak is one of the ancient kinds of trees from the beech family. In Hellenic and ancient Romans mythologies the oak, together with the grape and wine, was devoted to Zeus and later to Jupiter. This tree deals with the history of mankind, and as the consequence of it with the history of wine-making. In medieval France the oak was counted as the symbol of justice. In ancient Russia it was associated with the symbol of steadfastness, power and courage. The biological features of this tree provided the wide usage; the man from ancient time used practically all the tree entirely (wood, bark, acorns) during the producing and keeping of the foodstuffs, and also with curative purposes.
In wine-making people came to usage of oak barrels through experience. But for transporting and keeping the wine this tree was in daily usage relatively later. The barrels are mentioned in Homer's "Iliad" but they were not used that time. The wine was prepared in the jugs and was transferred in leathern wine-skins. With the development of trade the amphora displaced the leather. Only in the end of the fifth century BC the trace of using the wooden barrels for transferring wine from the valley Po to Rom was found out.
It is suggested that the source of cooper ought to be sought in Gallia. In the 1-2 centuries the barrels came to Rom with the Gallic wine through Massalia (Marcel), and then they were spread further. From the early medieval the oak barrel became the main vessel for wine-making. In some countries, because of the lack of oak, the barrels are made from the chestnut, beech, fir, acacia, and pine-tree. But only the wood of oak is enough solid, is good to be treated, has the porosity what is necessary for air penetration into the wine, and does not impart to wine any objectionable smells and tastes.

   
       
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