Wine Barrels - New Oak

When working with a new wine barrel, the size of the barrel generally determines how long the wine can be safely stored before it becomes over-oaked. As barrels get smaller, the surface area of the wood that is in contact with the wine grows proportionately larger. This means that you will have a higher percentage of oak compounds being released into a smaller volume of wine. And, much like using two tea bags to make a single cup of tea, the rate it can become overpowering will be much faster than when using a single bag!

To avoid over-oaking your wines, we recommend the following timelines:

  • New 60 gallon wine barrels: 18-24 months. 
  • New 30 gallon wine barrels: 6-12 months.
  • New 15 gallon (and smaller) wine barrels: 3-6 months.


(Note: While these are good guidelines to build on, you will need to ultimately rely on your own tastes and preferences to make the final decision for when a particular wine needs to be racked from its barrel).
MoreInfo! About Oak!:

  • For complete information on how to use your wine barrel, see MoreWine!'s Oak Barrel Care Guide.
  • For a complete explanation of the various oak types and their flavor characteristics please see our Oak Information Paper.

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