WineVine Imports Blog Everything you want to know about having fun with wine

October 23, 2011

How to Use Oak Barrels for Making Wine

Filed under: Blog Articles,Experiencing Wine — Nicole @ 5:48 pm

First step is finding a white oak barrel.  Our barrels are made from premium quality American White Oak. The staves are air dried for two years and all barrels have a medium char.  We have a variety of small oak barrels that range from 1 to 10 liters.  You’ll find the traditional shaped barrel in addition to the NEW oval barrel design.

How to Use Oak Barrels for Making Wine

No glue or nails are used in the making of our barrels. As such, barrel preperation called “curing” is required prior to use.

Curing a Barrel

This process serves two functions;

  • Allows the barrel to swell to prevent leaking, and
  • Limits the amount of alcohol absorbed by the barrel

Start by placing the appropriate number of storing tablets in the barrel and filling the barrel with boiling or hot water.  Allow it to soak for 3 to 5 days.  Water may leak from between the staves or at the barrel head seam.  This is normal and will stop within 24 hours as the wood swells.

Barrels that do not leak should still be cured for 3 to 5 days.  This will minimize the amount of alcohol absorbed by the barrel staves.

After curing the barrel, empty the solution and rinse with hot water 3 times.

And there you have it!  You very own barrel is ready to age wine.

Important to remember: To prevent the barrel from drying out and minimize the possibility of contamination, barrels should always be stored full with spirits or sterilizing solution.  With proper care, you can use your barrel for 8 to 10 years. Following the cleaning and re-charing instructions (that come with barrel) will insure a long life for your product and be sure to not let your barrel dry out.

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