I have limited space and funds. I want to get either a barrel or a stainless steel variable volume tank as my next piece of equipment. Which would you recommend to purchase first?This would only be a eight or 10 gallon barrel.
Well stated, couldn’t agree more!!!You do not have to re-toast them when neutral. At that point you can just add oak adjuncts straight into to the barrel and age as normal. You can add french oak or american oak once neutral and change it up to your liking. Yes barrels require you to maintain a level of sanitization and cleaning that a SS tank doesn't require but a SS tank does not provide (on its own) micro-ox and concentration through evaporation that a barrel provides. There simply is no comparison or substitution (IMHO) for a well maintained barrel if your making red wines. I got my first small barrel back in 2010 and it is still in use today.
Well, pick one and down the road pick up the other one you don't buy now. Maybe the first one you pick you really like, but someday I'd like to own both, just not financially feasible today (maybe tomorrow).A lot of great responses I really do appreciate it. I’m now even more confused. LOL
That is of course correct.You do not have to re-toast them when neutral. At that point you can just add oak adjuncts straight into to the barrel and age as normal. You can add french oak or american oak once neutral and change it up to your liking.
But then the wood barrel is no different than a stainless steal tank regarding oaking. So why not just start with stainless steel?** Or flextank as NorCal said if one wants micro-oxygenation.
Yes I’m spoiled, but my recommendation was based on my experience with smaller barrels as I was getting started in the hobby. Even with a 30 gallon barrel, I was over oaking my wine. The rule of thumb of 1 week in the barrel for every gallon the barrel holds, means there is a lot of caring for an empty barrel, unless there is a line-up of kits to rotate in.Flex tanks are nice. I own two of them. They are great for micro ox and easy to clean but they don't give you any concentration through evaporation which produces a superior product in the end IMHO.
And as for not buying anything less than a 15G barrel. Bigger is better in wine barrels for sure but not everybody lives next to a vineyard in Northern California and has the space and $$$ to purchase grapes by the ton, has the help to process those grapes into wine and has enough family and friends to ultimately drink that much wine so for some of us a 23L or 6G barrel is a nice way to get your feet wet and take your wine to the next level of quality.
Agree that nothing oaks wine like wine against the staves of a barrel. But big wineries keep coopers in business because once the barrels go neutral, they typically shave and re-toast or replace them. Because adding oak chips to a neutral barrel is not what most big wineries do -- because that will never be the same as what the natural barrel wood will do.There’s a reason folks, why wineries continue to spend big bucks on great coopers and their barrels, and it’s not nostalgic, or cool. If there were as good of a method to to achieve the same results, barrels would be rarely used in the modern winery.
Agree 100% but they are also nostalgic and cool! LOLTo each his / her own. In my world, barrels rule supreme in the production of traditionally packed red wine. No other vessel can duplicate its flavor, period. Even when that flavor is gone, no other vessel duplicates the microx AND concentration of a barrel. There’s a reason folks, why wineries continue to spend big bucks on great coopers and their barrels, and it’s not nostalgic, or cool. If there were as good of a method to to achieve the same results, barrels would be rarely used in the modern winery.