Wine Barrel - Oak

Wine barrels are an incredible, "all-in-one" tool for making high quality wine. Tannins from the wood help protect the wine from oxidation and provide structure for the wine to build on. Chemical reactions that occur during the seasoning and toasting of the wood result in the creation of a veritable spice rack of desirable chemical compounds. These complimentary flavors and aromas then get passed into the wine as it ages in the barrel. Most importantly, however, due to the natural porosity of wood, a very slight amount of oxygen passes through the oak staves and gets transferred into the wine. The rate at which this diffusion occurs (2.5 mg/L/Month) turns out to be pretty ideal and allows the wine to bloom and develop beneficially in ways that simply can't happen without the presence of this small but critical amount of air (i.e.: in a stainless steel tank or a glass carboy). 

Care & Maintenance:
Wine barrels have a few basic requirements that should be followed in order to ensure success:

  • Swell the barrel properly with water before filling it with wine.
  • Store the barrel at 55-60 F, with an ambient humidity of 65-75% for the best development of the wine.
  • Make sure to keep the proper amount of free SO2 in the barrel (we recommend testing the free SO2 each time you open the barrel).
  • Keep the barrel topped-up and taste the wine at 2 month intervals to avoid over-oaking it.

If you are using wine barrels, then you may be interested in a specialized system set-up for safely storing and dispensing your topping-wines that uses inert gas: our Cornelius Keg Barrel Topping System will hold 5 gallons, and our Cellar Keg will hold 15 gallons of topping-wine. 

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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