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Barrel question

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celladwella

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Has anyone used a barrel to age their precious wine I’m considering a 30 gallon one. Any recommendations on them or input greatly appreciated.
 

JohnT

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I highly recommend it!

30 gallons equates to 113 liters. I guess I would go with a 40 liter barrel and, perhaps, barrel age two batches?

Not to brag, but I normally barrel age in 225 liter barrels (59 gal), so I would defer to what others might recommend as far as optimal size.

The only other advice I would give is to make sure that you save some of your wine for topping off.
 

jgmillr1

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American oak is far less expensive than French oak and probably a good choice for your first barrel. I use medium toasted American oak for the majority of my barrel-aged wine. The medium toast brings out a lot of vanilla that compliments the varietals I age in it.

American oak is often disparaged as cheap (hence lower quality) but this is as outdated as believing French wine are inherently superior to Californian wine. Some of the factors that will influence your wine the most dramatically for the barrel are:
1) Length of wood seasoning. 36 months is ideal and this is what all quality French and American oak is seasoned to.
2) Climate where the wood was grown. The warmer the growing season means larger growth rings and a less tight grain. A tighter grain generally allows for more oxygen diffusion through the wood. French oak is usually tighter than American.
3) Toasting level (light, medium, medium+, heavy) influences what spice, oak and vanilla notes you get in your wine.
4) Cooperage. This shouldn't be a problem when you work with a reputable retailer.

Of course keep the barrel topped off every month or two. I lose about 1 liter of wine per month from evaporation through each of my 53-gallon barrels. Depends on your cellar temp/humidity though. And keep the sulfites up once it is done with MLF.

The good thing about the 30gal barrels is that they fit nicely on those rolling furniture moving carts you can pick up at Lowes for $30. Makes it easier to move around when it is time to bottle.
 

celladwella

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I highly recommend it!

30 gallons equates to 113 liters. I guess I would go with a 40 liter barrel and, perhaps, barrel age two batches?

Not to brag, but I normally barrel age in 225 liter barrels (59 gal), so I would defer to what others might recommend as far as optimal size.

The only other advice I would give is to make sure that you save some of your wine for topping off.


That sounds good and how do you clean it once your done?
 

celladwella

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I highly recommend it!

30 gallons equates to 113 liters. I guess I would go with a 40 liter barrel and, perhaps, barrel age two batches?

Not to brag, but I normally barrel age in 225 liter barrels (59 gal), so I would defer to what others might recommend as far as optimal size.

The only other advice I would give is to make sure that you save some of your wine for topping off.


Thank you for the advice. Where do you recommend purchasing them? And what do you do to clean it?
 

celladwella

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I highly recommend it!

30 gallons equates to 113 liters. I guess I would go with a 40 liter barrel and, perhaps, barrel age two batches?

Not to brag, but I normally barrel age in 225 liter barrels (59 gal), so I would defer to what others might recommend as far as optimal size.

The only other advice I would give is to make sure that you save some of your wine for topping off.


Thank you for the advice. Where do you recommend purchasing them? And what do you do to clean it?
 

celladwella

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I highly recommend it!

30 gallons equates to 113 liters. I guess I would go with a 40 liter barrel and, perhaps, barrel age two batches?

Not to brag, but I normally barrel age in 225 liter barrels (59 gal), so I would defer to what others might recommend as far as optimal size.

The only other advice I would give is to make sure that you save some of your wine for topping off.


Thank you for the advice. Where do you recommend purchasing them? And what do you do to clean it?
 

ibglowin

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A lot of us have purchased quite a few Vadai Barrels and are very happy with them. I personally do not like the flavor profile of American Oak. Something you might consider before purchasing a barrel. Vadai is made from Hungarian Oak which is the same oak species as French Oak, just the tree is grown in Hungary and that is where the barrel is made.


Thank you for the advice. Where do you recommend purchasing them? And what do you do to clean it?
 

FTC Wines

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I am in the process of prepping my new Vadai 50 liter barrel. 13... Gals. I also have a 6 gal Valdai barrel. The 50L barrel is huge compared to the 6 gal. Very heavy empty. Not to mention full. Sooo think about the weight & how you will keep it full & rotated. The 6 gal is for kits, the 13 is for fresh grapes. But it takes a lot of grapes. Roy
 
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pete1325

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Question for you barrel guys......I normally rack and sulfite every three months while bulk aging in carboys....do you guys rack at all?
 

FTC Wines

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I stil rack my barrels every 3-4 months, dosing the wine with K Meta. I give them a quick rinse too between racking so. Roy
 

Johny99

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I rack mine every 6-9 months. Sooner for the first after pressing, usually 3 months but it varies.
 

Johnd

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I typically wait until the end of MLF, degas the wine, and let it sit a month or so before barreling. Since it’s already pretty clear going in, it doesn’t get racked, just topped up / sulfited.
 

NCWC

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I would only rack if there is an off order
I SO2 every other month
don't open anymore then you have to
 
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