FREE CHECKLIST: Top 3 barrel hygiene tips
Follow best practice wine barrel treatment, and get the longest life from your barrels. Dry steam vapour is a powerful, natural way to clean any surface, without using chemicals. Steam vapour kills Brettanomyces yeasts, Lactobacillis and Pediococcus instantly. It leaves barrel surfaces dry, so nothing gets absorbed into the wood. We have an impressive range of commercial wine barrel cleaning equipment and barrel handling machines to streamline your winery's workflow.
Distribute the steam vapor throughout all the areas of the barrel's interior.
Avoids momisture build up in the low spots of the barrel.
Sanitise wine barrels, with the added advantage of using a chemical-free process.
Keep barrels hygienic to prevent buildup of tartrates and yeast.
Rugged industrial connectors attach the pressurised output hose to the bottling line.
Remove all impurities and contaminants- so the wine is not spoiled during bottling.
Treating barrels gently is essential from the moment you take delivery. If you're not ready to use your barrels right away, they should be stored away from dampness or mold. The ideal conditions are around 13 degrees Celsius and humidity levels of between 65% and 75%. Observing and adhering to these guidelines is important, in order to prevent or minimize shrinkage of the wood.
Burning sulfur dioxide gas in barrels replaces the air and prevents brettanomyces and other bacteria from growing. Sulfur sticks are used, and held in place using something called a "sulfur bung". This is to prevent sulphur deposits from falling into the barrel during the burning process. In time, deposits and wine will mix- and the wine will spoil as a result of the contamination.
During extended storage, barrels should be checked for the presence of sulphur gas by sniffing- for that classic rotten egg smell. Burn another sulfur stick if more gas is required. Be sure to remove the sulfur stick quickly, once the burn has stopped. Seal the barrel with a wooden plug to retain the gas.
Before burning sulfur inside a wine barrel, use one of our steam cleaning machines designed for wine barrel cleaning to remove all contaminants and sanitise the interior of the barrel. The advantage of using ultra high temperature steam vapour, is that there is no water left over. Water in a wine barrel can absorb sulfur gas and cause it to hydrate. This in turn creates sulfurous acid which will spoil the wine and affect the taste in a negative way- so it's important to not take any chances during this step.
Prior to first use, a new wine barrel must be swelled. Clean water is used and the primary purpose is to swell all joints and croze, in order to prevent wine leak. Another reason for swelling a wine barrel, is to tighten wood joints so that air does not enter the barrel and oxidise the wine. If joints are not swelled properly, there is a real risk of mold entering through the cracks, and spoiling the wine.
Wine barrels which have seen work- a season or more- need different management to new barrels. If the barrel is being emptied of wine and refilled immediately, all that's needed is a clean with one of our high pressure wine barrel cleaning machines. These are available in a range of strengths and capacities to suit the workflow and barrel count of the winery.
If the barrel is being stored empty, then a thorough clean, with high pressure super heated steam vapour will get rid of leftover wine and leave the barrel dry. Once the barrel is completely dry, burn sulfur within it and seal. A barrel stored this way should be checked monthly for the presence of SO2 and boosted as needed, with another burn.
There is a possibility that the wood may shrink during dry storage, requiring a repeat of the joint and croze swelling outlined earlier.
A sulfur-citric holding solution is best used on wine barrels which have seen one or two seasons of use, because the solution strips away some of the oak extract- one of the key contributors to the flavour of the wine! Once a barrel has been drained of holding solution, simply clean it using super heated dry steam vapour, which does not affect the oak.
Steam is an excellent all natural cleaner, ideally suited to wineries. It destroys all bacteria, and leaves the barrel dry, ready for immediate use. Maintaining and treating wine barrels with high temperature steam vapour instead of a water rinse, sterilizes the barrel, and kills all traces of mold and bacteria. Brettanomyces or "bretts" can impart a clinical or "first aid cupboard" taste to the wine, once contamination reaches an advanced state. Cleaning the barrel with steam vapour also destroys Lactobacillis and Pediococcus bacteria. Contamination by either of these two lactic acid bacteria, can infuse the wine with the flavour of sour milk.
Save water, extend the life of used wine barrels, and preven bacteria outbreak in all areas of the winery, by sanitising with the amazing cleaning properties of steam vapour. Arrange for a demonstration today and embrace the advantages of using Nature's very own cleaning agent, throughout your wine barrel tratment and maintenance program.