Header Image

Barrel Care & Maintenance

Wine barrel anatomy

PDF version

INITIAL INSPECTION

We recommend examining and nosing the inside of each barrel upon delivery.

PREPARATION FOR WINE

A Water Soak and Test

It is important to follow these re-hydration and inspection steps if you’re going to immediately fill the barrel with wine.

Option 1:

  1. Fill the barrel with 3-5 gallons of filtered, chlorine-free, hot water. Use the hottest water possible, with 180°F or 82°C being the ideal temperature.
  2. Place a silicone bung in bunghole.
  3. Rotate the barrel from side to side, completely wetting the barrel’s interior.
  4. Stand the barrel upright on one head for up to 4 hours to completely hydrate the head.
  5. Rotate and stand upright on the other head up to 4 hours repeating the hydration
  6. Check for leakage. See instructions below.
  7. Empty the barrel and allow it to drain and dry completely (approximately 1 hour).

Option 2 (Cold Water/High Volume):

  1. Completely fill the barrel with filtered, chlorine-free, cold water.
  2. Let the barrel re-hydrate for 24-48 hours.
  3. Check for leakage. See instructions below.
  4. Empty the barrel and allow it to drain and dry completely (approximately 1 hour).

Check for Leakage

  1. If leakage is present, drain the barrel and allow it to dry completely (approximately 1 hour).
  2. With chalk, circle the area where the leakage was present. Examine to make certain that this exterior area is completely dry.
  3. Repeat Option 1 or Option 2 above and re-examine for leakage.

If the leakage continues, it is important to call your account manager or World Cooperage immediately. Empty the barrel, allow it to drain and dry completely, treat each barrel with 10-20 grams of sulfur sticks (or the equivalent in gas form), and re-insert the bung. Again, be certain the barrel is completely dry prior to sulfur treatment.

Remember that water should not sit in a barrel for more than 48 hours without sulfur and citric acid.

Also, use caution when removing bung due to internal pressure build-up

STORAGE OF NEW BARRELS

Cool, Humid Environment

We recommend that you keep the plastic film on the barrels if you are storing the new barrels for an indefinite time period. Please remember that a new barrel must be stored in a cool, humid environment at your winery to maintain its integrity.

EMPTY STORAGE OF PREVIOUSLY FILLED BARRELS

Cleaning and Storing between Wine Fills

  1. Barrels must be thoroughly rinsed with water until the draining water is clear.
  2. Completely dry the barrel by placing the bunghole down and draining the water.
  3. Apply 10-20 grams of sulfur sticks (or the equivalent in gas form) to prevent microbial growth.
  4. Tightly insert a silicon bung.
  5. Continue storing the barrel in a cool, humid environment.
  6. Repeat the sulfur treatment monthly for extended storage of empty barrels.
  7. Complete Option 1 or 2 above for barrel preparation prior to refilling with wine.