Filling barrels: a triumphal entry

No Tags | News

The barrel is possibly the best container that can exist to house a wine during the first stages of its life. The barrel is where the most respectful natural decanting takes place; it eliminates any reduction problems caused by the wine’s lack of respiration and is where it can achieve that extra organoleptic quality that no other container can provide.

For the wine that has just come out of a fermentation tank, the barrel will be its new, warm and cosy home for many months. Therefore, before settling in for good, it must be shiny and well prepared to receive it as it deserves.

At Tonelería Murúa we have not only been manufacturing barrels in the traditional way for two centuries, but we also advise oenology professionals on how to prepare them for this decisive moment, the filling.

How should a barrel be stored and how should it be prepared?

Once the new barrel has arrived at the winery, our master coopers recommend keeping it in its original packaging until it is ready for use. Storage should be in a room where there is a total absence of draughts and direct sunlight.

It is also recommended that there should be little light, a relative humidity of around 75-80% and a temperature of between 15 and 20 degrees centigrade.

When it is time to use it, a series of instructions should be followed:

  • Place the barrel on a horizontal sleeper with the mouth facing upwards.
  • Fill the barrel with 25-30 litres of hot water at 70-80 degrees.
  • Move the barrel sideways lying down and turn it.
  • Lift the barrel and move it along the two bottoms.
  • Leave the barrel upright for 12 hours on one bottom.
  • Turn the barrel over and leave it for 12 hours on the other bottom.
  • Finally, empty the barrel after 24 hours.

And to make it even clearer, you can watch the step-by-step in the following video:


Filling should be carried out with the barrel completely clean and dry, and it is also important that the wine introduced completely fills the barrel.

Everything that happens from this point onwards is the decision of the oenologist in charge. For this reason, at Tonelería Murúa we maintain a close relationship with the professionals at each winery, as they must inform us of their preferences when it comes to defining the characteristics and yields of each barrel.

We also collaborate with universities and technology centres through our Murúa Hub, a space for research and learning to develop lines of research that ensure, through analytical data, the know-how that characterises this cooperage.

In the case of wine ageing, we have carried out studies such as the design and development of hybrid wood-plastic systems for fermenting and maturing wine; the influence of the colour of American oak on wine ageing or the study of white varieties in different types of wood, among others that you can consult in our Murua Hub section.

The close relationship with oenology professionals, together with our experience and innovative vocation are the hallmarks of Tonelería Murúa, Rioja barrels that have shone in the world for two centuries.



Leave a comment