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Why use wooden barrels in traditional vinification?
Why wooden barrels?
- They give quality to the product (wine), tannins, flavour, natural color & aromas.
- It is the safest means of storage as it is not susceptible to the environmental temperature.
Why must should not be vinified in plastic containers
Vinification in plastic containers
- When the must is boiled, the plastic container as a petroleum derivative is polymerized with the raise of temperature, resulting in the material being spoiled and dispersed in the product contained in it.
- It is so susceptible to the external temperature that during the summer months the wine in the plastic container may have a higher temperature than the external environment, resulting in a deterioration of the material (polymerization).
Vinification in inox containers
The disadvantages of the inox container are fewer, but it is also susceptible to the external temperature because of its material (metal). Only large wineries can provide suitable inox, which requires a certain quality of material and necessary mechanical cooling with the corresponding cost of electricity and that only for the initial stage of winemaking.
A decent wine needs at least 6 months of maturing into an oak barrel to enhance tannins, aroma, color, even if it has begun to be created in inox containers.
Preparation and maintenance of wooden barrels
Preparing a new barrel before filling it:
- Fill in the barrel with cold water
- Leave it full for 48 hours
- Empty the barrel, rinse immediately with cold water and let it dry.
If you notice the slightest leakage, follow the instructions below:
- Fill in the barrel with very hot water (boiling) at a rate of 15% of the capacity of the barrel.
- Stir the barrel so as hot steam is formed inside.
- Shake the barrel cyclically 8-10 times and lift it 15 minutes from each side.
- After making sure that there is no leakage of steam throughout the barrel, drain and rinse it with cold water to allow wood to return to its natural temperature.
- Finally, place the barrel with the hole downwards.
Preparing a used barrel before filling it:
- Rinse the barrel continuously with cold water until the water is clean.
- Fill the barrel with cold water for 12 hours so that the wood gets the required moisture (stinging).
- Once it is drained from the cold water, boil 15% of the capacity of the barrel and place it in the barrel.
- Shake the barrel to create steam and leave it for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse the barrel with cool tap water so that wood returns to its natural temperature.
- We use sulfur pastilles by burning it inside the barrel for safer disinfection.
Attention! This process is always done one or two days before reloading the wine barrel.
When the barrel is empty, the safest way to be stored is to be put in a cool place and by burning the sulfur pastille inside the barrel every two months to avoid fungus.
For any advice on using and washing barrels, new or used ones, we will be glad to provide you with our know-how.