Barrels offer a lot more benefits to wine than just oak taste and tannins, but full-size barrels are often out of reach for the home winemaker. Smaller barrels that are more home winemaker-friendly pose some nuances when it comes to wood-to-wine ratio, but they offer the same benefits when you know how to use them.
If a barrel isn’t in your immediate winemaking plans — or if your barrel has been filled so many times it has become neutral in oak character — there are many other options on the market in the forms of oak alternatives. Get to know the options to see which may be best for your cellar.
Owning your own oak barrel can yield great rewards when handled properly. We asked the advice of two professionals that know what it takes to care for a new barrel and keep them in tip-top shape.
Q I am a novice home winemaker and have been contemplating making the move from carboy and bottle-aging to barrel-aging some of my reds. It is my understanding that a new barrel
Aging your wine in an oak barrel can do wonders for your wine. It can also ruin it. Before you dive in head first, learn all there is to know about aging in oak. Plus: Using oak alternatives.
Thanks for clarifying your question a little bit. I am glad to hear you regularly top off your barrels, it’s a practice all of us need to do. Alcohol and water definitely
Materials for Project: 1.) sand paper grits 40, 80, 120, 240 2.) matte black paint 3.) 3 or 4 coach bolts with washers and nuts 4.) drill and drill bits 5.) 3
I’ve certainly had the odd leaker (or three) but I’ve never experienced trans-stave leakage of the scale that you describe. Before I delve any deeper, I first of all would like to
A lot of home winemakers make small batches of wine that aren’t enough for a whole barrel. Thankfully there are lots of options for those of us making only a few gallons
After 15 years of making wine, I am finally embarking upon the use of barrels and it is very exciting. Just having the barrels in my homewinery creates an ambiance that is
To Oak, or not to Oak, a phrase I took from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and changed the words around a little. But going a step further and delving into the tools that
Oak barrels have long been used primarily for aging red wines but also to shape the style of certain white varietals, such as Chardonnay, into fuller-bodied wines. Oak wood imparts what is
Is aging wine in a barrel that once held spirits totally off limits? One hobby winemaker made some experimental wines to test it out.
In the final installment of our year-long series, the wines are bulk aged, oaked, and bottled.
Your pictures of the barrel you made are very impressive and I applaud both your ambition and skill! The artistry it takes to cut, shape, curve, and toast wood so it will
Sometimes, a wine you believed would be balanced during fermentation comes up a little short after fermentation is complete. Learn what you can do to restore it to an order of balance with these post-fermentation adjustments.
I love your innovation. A “chip sock” can be a real boon to winemakers. In fact, I mention using one in The Winemaker’s Answer Book where I suggest using a nylon stocking
I agree with your local winery supply store employee; it’s most likely a surface yeast or “flor” yeast of some kind, forming a floating plaque on top of your wine. Sometimes referred
First, make sure that the portion left over, i.e. the portion you are not bottling now and will be adding more oak to, will be stored in a completely full (or “topped
In a recent issue of WineMaker, I read with some alarm your caution against burning sulfur sticks in a wet barrel. Not only did I make that error (in three beautiful, one-year-old
The benefits of fermenting or aging wine in toasted oak barrels are indisputable and unmatched by any other type of wood. Not only do oak compounds impart aromas and flavors as well
First off, one should never burn a sulfur wick in a wet barrel; only do this (which releases the antimicrobial SO2 gas, which we want) when your barrel is well dried-out. This
Wine barrel testing My barrels are American oak, repeatedly used for wine, and about five years old. When empty, I fill them with water containing a strong solution of potassium metabisulfite