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Paranoia Kicking In

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pete1325

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Hi, I bought this old (maybe ten years old) 15 gallon oak barrel as part of a bunch of wine stuff this guy in my area was selling. The barrel was in pretty rough shape, all the staves were loose, as were the rings. I decided to tighten up the rings and fill the barrel with water in hopes of swelling up the staves to see if it would hold water. After a few day, and continuing to flush it out it surprisingly started holding water. I drained it and put it on a rack I made to dry out. Now I smell this strong stench of vinegar coming from the barrel. I put the bung on it but can still smell it. Here's where my paranoia is kicking in; I have this barrel in my wine room and worried the vinegar will taint the wine I have bulk ageing in 5/6 gallon carboys. Are vinegar cultures an air born thing? I racked all seven carboys last weekend and now concerned with spoiling the wine. I think I might have used the same funnel during racking as I did to fill the barrel with water. I did wash and sanitize the funnel before racking. Should I be worried? Any thoughts????
 

Johnd

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Totally agree with @cmason1957 , and wouldn't even have that thing anywhere close to my winemaking area. Though the bacteria that creates the vinegar is everywhere, and good sanitation and sulfite practices will stop it in its tracks, there's no sense tempting fate.......IMHO.

Consider this excerpt from Winemaker Magazine:
"Acetobacter is almost unavoidable in winemaking, but its population and effects can be controlled. Acetobacter is a bacteria that grows anywhere the wine is in contact with oxygen. It produces both acetic acid and ethyl acetate. Acetic acid has a vinegar aroma, and ethyl acetate can smell like fake fruit at low concentrations or nail polish remover at very high levels. To prevent high volatile acidity levels (caused by acetobacter), make sure all surfaces that the wine comes in contact with are sanitized. Also avoid barrels that have contained vinegar or wines with very high VA levels. Adding SO2 (sodium dioxide) to the wine will inhibit the growth of this bacteria. Also, because the bacteria needs oxygen to grow, avoid oxygen contact by keeping containers topped and sealed as much as possible."
 
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pete1325

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Thanks, I agree, I wasn't planning to fill it, just displayed it in my wine room. I was worried about any air born bacteria I might have exposed my wine to while racking. I'll put the bung on tight and move it to another area in hopes that whatever is going on will stop.
 
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