Making your wine is a rewarding and fun experience. Yet you need the right wine-making supplies. You also need quality oaking wine barrels to age your wine.

When selecting the best oak barrels for wine-making, you’ll find a variety of options. If you are not sure how, it pays to do a bit of research on the best available wine-making barrels in the market and the factors to consider.

Here is a guide to choosing oak barrels for your wines.

The Oak Type

When making wine, selecting the right oak barrel is essential for achieving the desired flavor profile. In many cases, this decision comes down to the type of oak used.

French oak barrels are prized for imparting a subtle, complex flavor profile to wines, with hints of spices and toast. American oak also provides complexity but will produce more flavor, including toasty, smoky, and coconut notes.

Neutral oak barrels are not as absorbent and have a lesser influence on the wine, but can be great for young wines that need more aging. Eastern European oak brings a lot of activity and intensity and is commonly blended with American oak to bring a richer taste to the finished wine.

It’s important to take into account these different oak types before deciding the right barrel for your wine-making process, this is especially if you also want to pick a type with a look that’s suitable for an industrial real estate market.

Toast Level

Toasting is an important step in wine-making, as the toasting level of an oak barrel is directly related to the intensity of flavor and complexity of the wine. Toasting levels for oak barrels range from light to heavy, and the type of toast selected will impact the outcome of a wine.

If an oaky flavor is desired, a medium to heavy toast level should be selected. A light toast will give the wine less oak flavor and more of the original fruit characteristics.

Selecting the right type of toast is essential for the winemaker to be able to create the desired flavor. A barrel with the wrong toast can ruin the flavor of the wine, so winemakers must be sure to select the best oak barrels for wine-making.

Barrel Size

Smaller barrels, up to 30 gallons, are great for aging and imparting flavor to a smaller portion of wine. Larger barrels, 45 gallons and larger, can speed up the aging process and give larger volumes of wine a greater intensity of flavor.

Barrel size also affects the texture of the wine as well as the flavor compounds extracted from the wood. The smaller the wine barrel, the more quickly the wine will come into contact with the wood and draw compounds such as vanillin that contribute to the “oak” flavor. Understand the desired outcome of the wine and boldly choose the best barrel to achieve the desired results.

Age and Condition

The ideal barrel age should depend on what type of wine is being aged, as well as the desired result. Generally, a young barrel is better for aging white wines and making lighter styles, while a more mature barrel is best for making full-bodied red wines. Overall, the age should range from two to five years.

Select the Best Oak Barrels for Wine Making

Oak barrels are essential to the craft of wine-making and can make a huge difference to the quality and flavor of the finished product. Careful consideration must be taken in selecting the right barrels to ensure the desired results.

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