Daily Archive for March 29th, 2010

Emptying and Cleaning Barrels

Spring is when we begin emptying barrels and getting the wine ready for bottling. No pumps are used – the wine is gently removed by using nitrogen gas pressure to push it off its lees into a stainless steel holding tank. The wine is then cold stabilized by dropping the temperature to the mid 30s allowing the tartrates in the wine to settle to the bottom. This usually takes two to three weeks and then after warming to ambient temperature it is bottled.
Click images to enlarge.

After emptying the barrels are cleaned with a combination of hot water and ozone gas. The gas sanitizes the barrels and before putting them away a small amount of sulfur gas is added to further preserve them. Before the barrels are used again they will go through this process at least two more times to make sure the barrels remain sound.