Barrel Recoopering by Quality Wine Barrels Cooperage
For centuries wine barrels have been recoopered to increase their useful life after they have been “used up” and have become neutral. A “neutral” wine barrel is one where the flavorings from the oak the wine is contact with (oak extraction) are depleted and the rate at which oxygen is metered through the barrel into the wine (oxygenation) is reduced. Oak extraction occurs during the time the barrel contains wine (dwell time) at a higher rate when the barrel is new and at an ever decreasing rate thereafter until the barrel is neutral. Generally a barrel is neutral after 24-36 months of dwell time, or after three to four years of use in the winery. Once neutral, the ability of the barrel to impart oak flavorings and metered oxygenation to the wine is minimal.
Recoopering brings a barrel back to life and provides a like-new barrel at a fraction of the cost of new oak. However, during centuries of recoopering wine barrels two primary concerns arose with barrels recoopered using older methods. First, the danger of destroying the integrity of the oak barrel structure itself during the recoopering operation, and second, the risk that contaminants and wine residue might remain in the pores of the oak after recoopering and impart off-flavors and possibly a burnt wine or sherry tone to the wine.
After many years of research and testing Quality Wine Barrels Cooperage has developed a proprietary recoopering process that effectively eliminates any risk of having residual wine or contaminants left in the pores of the oak while also ensuring the integrity of the barrel structure is not compromised. The barrel will have undergone a thorough internal and external inspection and the staves will be 3/16th to 5/16th-inch thinner. After shaving, the barrel is retoasted to provide a like-new barrel that will impart furfurals, trans-oak lactones, vanilluns, tannins and other oak compounds to your wine at a slightly softer and slower rate than a new barrel while imparting the same character and oak profile to your wine as the original cooper’s signature style. Your recoopered barrel will provide oak extraction and oxygenation close to that of a new barrel with no risk of off-flavors from residual wine remaining in the oak or of the structural integrity of the barrel being compromised.
Aside from the cost savings, “recycling” a barrel back into wine production also significantly reduces demand for new barrels. This recycling process prolongs and often doubles the life cycle of an oak barrel in wine production to provide an economical GREEN alternative to purchase of new oak. Recoopering provides an immediate environmental benefit by virtually cutting in half the demand for finite oak forest resources while significantly reducing pollutants generated by transporting barrels around the planet.
You can place your recoopering order by simply calling or emailing us, but please be aware that it can take 2-4 weeks to process your barrels prior to shipping. You can send us your favorite neutral barrels to be recoopered (must pass our inspection before recoopering) or you can purchase neutral barrels from us to have recoopered. Your order can include your desired toast level on the staves as well as shaved and retoasted heads, depending on your preferences. For additional information, just give us a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org for prompt service.