The following steps will allow you to minimize use of labor, water and time. This traditional method will prepare your oak barrels for use after only 24 hours!
For Immediate Use of the Barrels :
- Fill the barrel with five gallons of very hot water (180ºF). Tightly insert a bung in the barrel, then rotate the barrel from side to side, and allow the water to cool.
- If 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, go to step #3.
- Stand the barrel upright.
- Fill the barrel with five gallons of warm water (80ºF to 120ºF).
- Turn the barrel on its side, roll it in order to completely wet the inside surface of the barrel, then stand it on the other head.
- After five to six hours, turn the barrel again, so that it is once more standing upright.
- The next day, check to see if the barrel is free of leaks. If some leakage is apparent, repeat steps 4 – 6. If there are no apparent leaks, proceed to fill the barrel with juice or wine.
Storing Wine Barrels Indefinitely:
If the unused wine barrels are to be stored for an indefinite period of time, keep the plastic film on the barrels to prevent them from getting dried out. When you are ready to use the barrels follow the above steps.
If the soaking period is longer than a couple of days, you can always add SO2 and citric acid to keep the water fresh.