How to use and maintain a wooden barrel The use of wooden barrels will provide your wine/beer with an incomparable aroma. A badly maintained barrel, however, will lead to problems and infections. Therefore, proper maintenance is vital. Below are a few hints:
- Preparing/disinfecting a new barrel: Fill the barrel with a solution of 10 g of tartaric acid per litre of water and leave to soak for 4 to 5 days. Then empty the barrel, let it drain thoroughly and disinfect by means of a sulphur wick. Immediately fill with wine (filling gently). New barrels release many tannins,so do not allow the wine to mature in the barrel for too long and regularly check the taste!
- Preparing a used barrel: Thoroughly clean the barrel using water-free soda (1 kg soda to 10 litres of hot water). Use, if possible, a brush or chain to scrub the inner wall, then rinse thoroughly with clean water. Fill the barrel with a solution of 10 g of tartaric acid per litre of water and leave to soak for 2 to 3 days. Empty the barrel, let it drain thoroughly and disinfect by burning a sulphur wick (1/4 wick / 100 litres).
- Storing an empty barrel: Wooden barrels are not intended to be stored empty! If this should occasionally be necessary, never leave dregs or wine residue in the wooden barrel! After siphoning off always rinse immediately with clean water. Then let the barrel drain for a day and burn a sulphur wick (1/4 wick / 100 litres contents). Seal the barrel well with a wooden or silicone stopper and store in a humid and cool place (70% humidity, 12 to 17 °C). Burn a piece of sulphur wick once again every three months.