Oak Barrel Seepage
Eric Weinstein — Maine asks,
I recently purchased a new 32-gallon (121-L) wine barrel made of Hungarian oak from the Zemplen forest. I should let you know that I have been making wine, one of which won a Silver Medal in the WineMaker Amateur Wine Competition, for over 30 years. I have used French and American Oak before but this is the first time for Hungarian. I treated the barrel properly as per instruction, and then put my wine in it. To my surprise, the wine started to seep, not from between the staves or the barrel heads but through the staves themselves. The seepage was fairly wide spread affecting about half of the belly. I was told that wood from the Zemplen forest was so dense that in fact you need to keep wine in barrel for 14 months or so. I seem to have halted the seepage by using wax but now I am wondering about the state of my wine. Is there anything I should be worried about or any additional measures I should take to protect the wine? Have you heard of this happening before?