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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA Department of Viticulture and Enology VEN 135 WINE TECHNOLOGY AND WINERY SYSTEMS 13. BARREL PRACTICES AND TEMPERATURE/HUMIDITY CONTROL There are a number of critical decisions that need to be made in regards to barrel aging practices. These include the desire to use the barrel for settling and clarification, the choice of a sulfur dioxide strategy and the interest in periodic aeration or not. Barrels may be tagged with a bar-code so that barrel properties, filling and emptying dates, barrel age and number of uses can be tracked. The use of pallets can facilitate not only the filling and emptying operations, but also barrel washing using systems that are designed for on-pallet rinsing. WINE CLARITY AND FILLING The choice of filtration of wine prior to filling is aimed at having all available area accessible for extraction. This would be changed with a desire for sur lies contact or for periodic racking, but it should be realized that these choices have significant labor implications in stirring and/or racking and washing. The decision to use either loose or tight bunging determines the need for access to the barrels for topping (in the case of loose bunging). The desire for loose bunging relates mainly to the traditional occurrence of the malolactic fermentation only during barrel storage and/or poor temperature control (resulting in expansions and contraction of the wine). Today this is often initiated during or immediately after the primary fermentation and generally prior to the filling of the barrels, and there is less advantage for loose bunging. Wine should be filled at the temperature of the cellar in which they will age and preferably free of significant dissolved carbon dioxide. BARREL ROWS AND STACKS The traditional placement of barrels is in rows of two, and one or two barrels high. This allows some access to top the barrel periodically, if desired. The second level is usually chocked with wedges to prevent movement. The top row is usually difficult to install or remove since this is done manually. The aisles need to be at least one barrel wide in order to replace leaking ones. The floor is often stones placed over a soil surface to assist in retaining humidity. PALLET STACKS The more usual method of barrel storage is to place them on pallets, usually two (but some four) barrels per pallet. The pallets are then stacked up to four and six high and are placed side by side in a dense stacking arrangement. In some cases, the pallets are placed in bays or stacked side by side, rather than a single “towers”, to reduce the risk of
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toppling. Some barrel rooms have installed braces which fit over the top of the upper level of barrels, to prevent toppling in the event of an earthquake. The advantage of this system is very dense barrel stacking and the use of vertical
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This note was uploaded on 09/29/2010 for the course VEN 91866 taught by Professor Davidblock during the Spring '09 term at UC Davis.

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