Conditions for Beverages Storage and Aging in Oak Barrels
Alcoholic drinks (wine, brandy, vodka, whiskey, rum, etc.) are alive and very gentle products highly responsive to environmental factors. These drinks should be kept in peace and silence. Good wine cannot fully reveal itself and disguise all its flavors, if you use improper storage. When kept in oak barrels, under the influence of tannins and oxygen, alcoholic drinks mature and acquire smoother taste. It becomes more flavorful with more refined bouquet of aromas.
There is a list of rules for the storage of alcoholic drinks in oak barrels:
These are the main factors to obtain a positive result. Temperature for table wines storage is 8-10°C, and for sweet wines – 14-16°C. At temperatures below 10 degrees the natural process of wine development slows down. If the air temperature in the cellar is above 16-18 degrees, the wine starts to age rapidly, and it can also adversely affect its quality. When maturing dry wine in a barrel, strictly adhere to the temperature. It is important because at increased temperature the bacteria in wine are activated, and as there is low sugar content, the acetic fermentation begins. But if it is sweet wine, slight deviations of temperature will not bring harm. So, sweet wines have a greater virtue in aging and storage if compared to dry wines.
The level of humidity should be 75-80% for barrels and 65-80% for bottles. The air in the room where barrels are kept must not be sluggish, but ventilated. There also should be no strong smells, since the barrel and its content very well absorb any external odor, and therefore do not keep a barrel of wine next to a tub of pickles. The longer the beverage will mature the softer and more harmonious it will be. Alcoholic drinks kept in barrels do not like the noise and should not be exposed to sunlight and any kind of vibration.
Keep the barrel filled by not less than a third of its volume. Since beverages tend to evaporating, do not forget to periodically refill the container, so as not to find an empty cracked barrel after some time.
To avoid undesirable bitterness of wine, you need to do two transvases during a year in order to remove the addle (the so-called "argol"). About a year later the wine will significantly change for the better, and if you have enough patience, then in two years you can bottle the wine and put it in a horizontal position.