Cleaning An Oak Barrel

Cleaning Oak BarrelsThe production of wine is a science and properly cleaning an oak barrel will ensure the best wines. Thoroughly clean the inside of the barrel and remove the remaining debris. A great way to do that is using an oak barrel cleaning kit.

Cleaning an Oak Barrel

Wash every barrel after removing the wine from it. Quickly performing this procedure helps to prevent the growth of spoilage organisms. The presence of these organisms can ruin the wine. Hot water is best for cleaning an oak barrel. More or less water is going to be needed depending on if your barrel is a small oak barrel or a large oak barrel. Repeat this procedure until the entire residue from the last batch of wine is gone. Then rinse the barrel completely with cold water. The cold water helps to keep the wood from swelling. Spoilage organisms flourish in warm, humid conditions, so the cold water deters their growth. It is important to refrain from using strong cleaners, soap, or soda ash. Soap can cause the barrel walls to soften, while soda ash and chemical cleaners can stripe the barrels of their delightful oak flavor. Water is the best cleaner for barrels. If problems present themselves either by an odd smell or by observation, use another technique.

Precautions

When a barrel is stored for longer periods, sulfur can inhibit the growth of molds and other contaminants. Naturally, all sulfur traces need to be washed from the barrels. Sulfur residue can lead to the creation of hydrogen sulfide during the fermentation process. Never use chlorinated water, because it can produce a condition known as TCA, or cork-taint. TCA is a mold that can attack all the barrels in a winery, and the corks. Always keep chlorine cleaners and other products containing chlorine completely away from the oak barrels and the fermentation areas. Chlorine is damaging to stainless steel as well. Viticulture is an exacting science and each part of the process is important from crushing the grapes to bottling the wine. Cleaning an oak barrel completely is an important step producing quality wines.