Barrel Care

It is recommended to examine each barrel upon delivery. Zemplén Barrels must be notified immediately of any barrels damaged during transit.

NEW! The revolutionary OENOCAT barrels sterilizer from Europe.

STORAGE

Changes in temperature and humidity will cause the barrel to take on or lose moisture and the oak wood will shrink or expand consequently.
Keep the barrels wrapped in plastic films and store them in a dark and cool, 65°F -75% humid environment, in the absence of moving air currents.
Protect the barrels from UV rays, covering them with tarp to prevent unnecessary exposure.

It is the responsibility of the customer to properly store, soak and swell the barrel prior to use, and to use the barrel in a standard wine making method.

PREPARATION FOR USAGE

Each barrel pressure tested at the cooperage to ensure water tightness and structural excellence, but a new barrel always needs to be swelled with chlorine free water to seal itself and limit the amount of alcohol absorbed by the wood.

Signs of dryness on the outside of the barrel (loose hoops, gaps between staves or headboards, and looseness in the heads) could be the result of a long, hot container ride, storage in warehouse or low humidity places.

Neither is a cause for concern, but requires tightening the hoops and longer time of water soaking prior to use.

Oak barrels will not cause any problems when properly maintained.

Hot or warm water:

  • Tighten the hoops, starting with the belly hoops up to the head hoops.
  • Fill it with 1/10th its volume of hot water. (180 °F)
  • Tightly insert a bung in, slosh the water around, then rotate it from side to side and allow the water to coolIf there are no leaks present and there is a vacuum when the bung is removed the barrel is liquid tight.

If a vacuum is not present:

Pound the hoops towards the middle of the barrel – tightening them will press the staves closer to each other.
Stand the barrel upright then fill the barrel with 1/10th its volume of warm water. (90-110 °F)
Turn it on its side and roll it – in order to completely wet the inside, than stand it on the other head.
After 4-5 hours, turn it to upright position again.

Check the barrel the next day, if some leakage is apparent, repeat the procedure.

 Do not fill up the barrel with wine if it is still seeping water!

Cold water:

  • Tighten the hoops, starting with the belly hoops up to the head hoops.
  • Fill the barrel 1/4 full with cold chlorine free water and let it stand on each side for 3-4 hours.
  • Then you fill it to 1/2 full and let it stand for another 3-4 hours on each side.
  • Finally, you top it up and keep it topped-up until the barrel stops seeping and seals itself.

This process usually takes about 2-3 days, but with dryer or older barrels may last longer.

When the barrel completely dried on the outside and shows no leakage of water, drain it and fill it up with wine.

Do not fill up the barrel with wine if it is still seeping water!

Even those barrels that do not leak should still be cured for 2-3 days to reach the ideal watertight condition and limit the amount of alcohol absorbed by the wood.
After curing the barrels, empty the solution and rinse with hot water 3 times.

Hot steam:

We do not recommend using hot steam trying to swell the barrels.

 IMPORTANT:

When you swell the barrel, never allow the same water stand in it for more than 2 days. If the soaking period exceeds 2 days, drain the barrel and fill it up with fresh water.
The longer you soak the barrel and properly tighten the hoops, the less likely it will have leakage.
Often take days for a barrel to soak up enough water to stop seeping, depends on how dry the staves are.
The barrel must never be left empty more than 2 hours after it has been conditioned.

NEVER FILL A BARREL WITH WINE IF IT IS STILL SEEPING WATER,

PUTTING WINE INTO THE BARREL WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY!

If you encounter a problem what you cannot handle, please contact us by phone at
(727) 480-0914 or (727) 255-4082, by email at zbarrels@yahoo.com.