Pumping out the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

January 3, 2012




We are just about finished with splash-racking our 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. Once the rackings are done, it will be time to put the wine down to barrel to age. As we’ve mentioned before, we like to use a mixture of new and seasoned barrels in our wines. We received the new barrels for the 2011 Cab a couple of weeks ago. In order to get the seasoned barrels, we are going to pump out our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is going to be bottled in March. The 2009 Cab fits almost perfectly into two of our 1600 gallon stainless steel tanks (second and third from the left in the picture below)

Pumping out the 2009 Cab Sauv will produce far more seasoned barrels than we need for our 2011 Cab Sauv. The oldest barrels will be sold off to other wineries, and the newest ones will be stored and used next year.

Once we have the barrels  pumped out, we have to clean them. We do this by flipping them upside-down, and then inserting a cleaning tool into the bung.

We give our barrels two separate rinses when cleaning. The first, seen above, is a high speed hot water rinse. This mechanically cleans the barrel by blasting lees and wine residue free from the wood. The second is an ozonated water rinse, which has the effect of killing any microbes that might be living in the barrel.

If you are planning to store empty barrels, it is imperative that they be thoroughly cleaned and then allowed to drain, otherwise all manner of spoilage microbes may be able to start growing in them and the barrels might be spoiled. Barrels are very expensive, so it’s important to maximize their useful lifespan.

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.


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