Now I don't know if this is true or not, but I have read that Whisky was first made when the crop of grapes failed and there was no way to make wine. One thing I know for sure is that the barrels used by Whisky distilleries are used first used by the Wine makers. While initially a barrel was used for about 30 years by a wine maker before shipping it to Scotland, now it is used for no more than 24 months.
Here is an infographic explaining the life of a wine cask.
Here is an article I wrote on how to take images like this using an ultra cheap setup in your living room.
Here are some more shots of Whiskey Bottles.