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:
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!: