evaluating a used barrel

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Applegrower

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Have two year old California barrels that held red wine available for ~$200 each. They're the larger size, I want to say 50 gallon but is rated in liters and actually holds what, 53 gallons? A local winery has them. The winery owner told me to talk to the winemaker with any questions regarding the barrels. Before I make the call, what should I ask and what answers do I want to hear?

Related; once wine has been aged in a barrel (in my case one year) how is it determined that all gas has left the wine before bottling? The barrel is topped up full and corked so does the CO2 escape through the wood?
 

sour_grapes

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Well, you would want to ask how they have been stored since they had wine in them.
 

JohnT

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........And for how long?

Ask if they sanitize the barrels after use.

If this barrel was used, drained, and then simply stored, then I would pass on the idea of using it.

Be careful. Don't just assume that the barrel is fit for use. Treat it the same way as a used tongue depressor. I would not use either unless I am assured that it was properly treated.

I would think that a winery would not bother to sanitize a barrel that is no longer to be used.
 

Applegrower

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After posting I did a little internet trolling. While the rinse/soak/sulfur routine varied with the source one common thread was that if the barrel was properly treated to sit unused for a period of time, every month or so it will need additional attention to keep it up to snuff.

Due to repeated requests for used barrels the owner purchased these barrels to provide local, home wine makers, I don't believe they have been used on site.
 
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