Storing Used Barrels

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vouxwines

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This is my first season of wine making and I have many barrels that will need storing after first use and bottling. I’d like to use an SO2 and citric acid solution to fill each barrel until next use. What are the ratios of each and quantity of SO2 creates a safe environment so not to impart sulfur smells or taste in the oak? Specifically for 15 and 30 gallon barrels?
 
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WineMakerMag recommends 1 tsp citric acid and 1.5 tsp K-meta per 1 US gallon of volume.


Are your barrels new or neutral? Keep in mind that a storage solution uses up the barrel's oak essence as much as a wine does. It makes more sense to keep the barrel full than it does to use a holding solution if the barrel is less than 3 years old. I realize capacity is an issue.

My barrels were neutral when I purchased them from a reliable couple, and I keep the wine in them until the next year's wine is ready for barrel. Being neutral, the 12 month aging doesn't over oak the wine.

I'm considering purchasing another 54 liter barrel, and have to figure in that I'll have 3 batches of wine in that barrel during the first year. Barrel aging wine makes a tremendous positive difference, but it requires management.
 

vouxwines

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Thanks for the response. I have to empty this barrel to use as top off wine for other barrels. It also has too much headspace with no other top off wine to fill it. So I’m sacrificing the 15G recoup barrel. It’s new but recoup. Still oak to give. After racking and cleaning what’s the alternative for long term storage? I could either sulfur it or fill it. My inclination is to fill it, even if the oak dissipates I can use it for a neutral barrel later. Thoughts? Will it keep with just sulfur?
 
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First, my experience with barrels is only a few years. I purchased 10 yo barrels and have kept them full, so I don't have your situation. I plan batches so that I have sufficient topup wine to keep them full, and as I said, one wine comes out, the barrels get cleaned, and the next one goes in.

I have a 1/2 gallon barrel that is supposedly a party decanter -- it sat in my attic for 25 years before I decided to play with it. No, I don't have a purpose, I am just experimenting with it. The barrel had gaps (1/4" wide) but by submerging it for 2 weeks, I got it to seal. From the outside, it looks like it has gaps, but it holds water. I have to keep it filled, else it dries out quickly, and leaks.

Based upon that experience, in your place I'd keep the barrel full as it eliminates the drying out problem.

Sure, you'll lose oak essence, but the barrel will be good as a container. Personally, I like neutral barrels as I can leave the wine in as long as I desire (not possible with new smaller barrels) and I add oak cubes to flavor the wine as I choose. The barrels are French oak, but I've used various types, so the barrels are whatever I want them to be.

Another option is to purchase 3 kits, which will keep the barrel full until you need it again. My 2021 grape purchase was scotched, so I filled the barrels with FWK kits, and I'm very pleased with the results so far.
 

Nebbiolo020

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If you have a barrel that isn’t neutral burn sulfur it will preserve it and is the safest way to protect a barrel without leeching out flavors and aromas.

I would only use a barrel holding solution on a completely neutral barrel.
 

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