Every winemaker knows how integral it is to ensure that your wine barrels are cleaned and sterilized before filling. While it is important that you don’t hinder the innate flavour, colour, and tannic qualities of your oak barrels, you do need to prepare your barrels so you don’t impart flavours from previous batches or include moulds that may have grown between usage.
Safe Wine Barrel Cleaning Agents
Whether it’s a new barrel or a previously used barrel, you want to stay away from harsh chemicals, like chlorine, and use ingredients that won’t strip the wood of its oak extracts and unique flavour characteristics.
We recommend using BevSan Oxi-K Oxygenated Cleaning Powder as it’s potassium based, chlorine-free and phosphate-free, and utilizes the power of active oxygen to remove fermentation residue, tartrate, protein, organic soil, mould, mildew, and biofilms.
Safe Wine Barrel Sterilizing Agents
Once your barrels have been cleaned, the next step is to ensure that your barrels have been safely sterilized. Again, the team at A.O. Wilson recommends that you stay away from chemicals and use Sulphur Strips.
The burning of sulphur wicks/strips inside the barrel produces sulphur dioxide which inhibits the development of bacteria and mould, and is a safe and effective way to sterilize your wood wine barrels.
How To Store Your Clean Wine Barrels
Taking care to properly store your clean wine barrels will ensure that they are ready to be filled with your next batch and won’t delay your process. If you will not be putting wine into your clean and sterilized barrel within a few hours, you will need to ensure that they are rinsed with hot water, drained, and completely dried.
Store your empty barrels on non-corroding aluminum racks in a cool and relatively humid, but not damp, space to prevent the wood from shrinking. If you are storing your wine barrels for more than three weeks before filling them, then we recommend burning sulphur strips inside each barrel again before filling.
Once your wine barrels are filled again, don’t forget your Flor-Stop tablets. These floating paraffin tablets will protect your wine from spoilage film yeasts and microbial changes that lead to volatile acidity and acetaldehyde increase. These tablets will help prevent flavour-robbing and can be used in wine and ciders.
If you have questions about wine barrel cleaning, sterilization, or storage, contact the team at A.O. Wilson. **Don’t forget to use Coupon Code ‘Cleaning10’ when you order your supplies online.** (Coupon code applies to online purchase until September 30, 2019.)