How do you maintain oak barrels until they are resold for wine?

Cleaning and disinfection of secondhand wine barrels

A thorough cleaning is necessary immediately after the barrel is racked. After each use, it is recommended to meticulously clean the barrel to remove wine residues, tartrate crystals and other impurities. There are various effective washing processes, we recommend using pressurized hot water and steam to deeply clean the wood pores.

Here is an example of a washing protocol; durations and temperatures may vary depending on the cleanliness and size of the barrel :

  • Cold water pressure wash (approximately 100 bar) for 3 minutes
  • Hot water pressure wash (approximately 80°C and 100 bar) for 3 minutes
  • Steam for 7 minutes
  • Rinse with cold water for 2 minutes
  • Dry for 4 to 12 hours
  • Fill with 10g of sulfur dioxide, followed by 5g every two months if the barrel remains empty.

Conservation of used wine casks

It is preferable to minimize the duration of storage of an empty barrel. Reoaked enables you to anticipate the sale of your secondhand barrel up to 6 months before the last racking, thereby reducing the period during which the barrel is empty. To preserve your empty secondhand barrels in the best possible conditions, we recommend storing them in a cool and humid place to keep the wood hydrated and maintain the barrel’s seal.

From a microbiological point of view, we recommend filling with 5g of sulfur dioxide every two months to prevent any aromatic deviation.

Preparing for reuse

Whether you have just received your secondhand barrels or you intend to reuse your old barrels, we recommend following the washing protocol mentioned above without sulphiting the barrels, and then potentially pressure testing to detect any leakage.