Why giant oak barrels are key to making some of the world's most expensive wine

Luxury winemakers producing some of the most expensive wine in the world will pay up to $50,000 for a single barrel to age their wine. But not just any barrel — a foudre. A foudre is a massive wooden vat that impacts and preserves the overall taste of the wine. Making a foudre starts with French oak, a tightly grained wood that adds unique flavoring to the wine. Cooperages like Foudrerie François pay close attention to the quality of the wood they source to make the foudres they sell and ship worldwide. The wood is so precious — and so expensive — that the French government heavily regulates its sales through annual auctions of oak forest plots.