Oak Wine Barrels Or Bottles

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Spring is here and the time is now to empty your barrels and bottle your wine or prepare your barrel for the process of storing and pouring. Deciding on whether to bottle or barrel your home made juice is the next step in this process.

Deciding to bottle or barrel depends on what you will do with your finished product and how you personally want to access your vino.

If you choose not to bottle, it is useful to have a smaller, tasting barrel to hold and pour your fermented grape juice because opening the spigot of a smaller barrel to pour your juice multiple times does not jeopardize the entire volume of your wine. Exposing your aged grape juice to oxygen, pour after pour, will adversely affect your product. It is likely your smaller barrel will empty more quickly, thus reducing the effect of exposure to oxygen. Oxygenation is not your friend. Exposure to oxygen will change and diminish the quality and taste of your aged grape juice. If you are using the same barrel that you used for ageing, it is good practice to empty and clean your barrel, then refill with your wine and pour!

Your best option is to have another barrel for this practice, oak or stainless steel. You can use an electrical pump to transfer higher volumes; smaller volumes can be siphoned or even poured from your larger to your smaller barrel. Cleaning and curing should take less than a day.

Should leaking be a problem, you must cure your barrel. This is a process of pouring very hot water in your barrel. Fill at least half full and allow the water and steam to swell the wood and eliminate any leaks. Swish the water inside by rotating or rolling your barrel. Do this at least 3 times. Then, return your aged wine home, to your barrel for holding and pouring!

Another option is to contain your grape juice in a carboy, temporarily, while cleaning or curing your barrel. A carboy is a glass bottle protected by basketwork or a wooden box. This works if you have less than 6 gallons of juice.

Bottling is an added expense. Bottles and corks can be costly. Labels, foil caps and bar codes are necessities if you are selling your wine. If you want to give as gifts, then bottling is the way to go. Depending on the quantity of wine you will bottle, you may have to invest in an automated bottler and a corking machine. However, small amounts can be managed by bottling and corking your vino manually.

Therefore, whether to bottle or barrel is your decision, based on your plans to enjoy or distribute.

Whether you invite your family and friends for a pour from your oak wine barrel or bottle your fruit of the vine…Enjoy! Cheers!

One of the most important variables, if not the most important in quality wine making is your oak wine barrel. For more info visit: http://www.WineBarrelsForYou.com.

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Source by Diana Shaban