Water, sun and time, the secret to achieve the perfect drying result

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They have come a long way: some have arrived by boat from America, others by truck from France. They all need to rest. And this is something they will do without haste when they arrive at Tonelería Murúa.

Because if winemaking is a slow and laborious process, the process of making a barrel is as slow and laborious, if not more so.

Today, we would like to show you our wood drying process. A natural, differentiating and unique process to which we have dedicated dozens of studies and research to find the perfect drying process.

One of the most striking images for visitors is to contemplate the 18,000 square metres of open air where the staves rest. But not in just any old way. When you get here, they are restacked and placed at a 45º angle with an east-west orientation. It’s not whim. It is research. Doing so allows the air to circulate between them and the drying process to be more homogeneous.

Contrary to what one might think, wood dries with water and sun. Inclement weather, rain, snow… are allies in our natural drying process. They do their job: they wash the wood and eliminate the astringent tannins to obtain an optimum aromatic and phenolic level. The prolonged time and the climate that allows certain fungi to grow provide the elegant touch to the drying process. This is the only way to understand why drying a wood is such a slow process.


As we explained, we have invested a lot of resources in R+D+i until we found the perfect, almost magical moment that brings the drying process to an end. We know the ideal degree of humidity.


The special climate and location of La Rioja means that longer drying times are necessary than in other areas. In order to achieve perfect drying, American oak barrels are left for a minimum of 24 months and French oak barrels for at least 36 months.

The limited edition barrels, only 300 units per year, are dried for 60 months or more.

The end of the drying process marks the beginning of another very interesting process that we have been practising for more than a century: immersion. A technique that was introduced by the founder of the cooperage and which is our trademark. Although we will talk about it in another post.

By the way, I’m sure you’d love to know what that magic degree of humidity is, but we’ll let you keep it a secret.



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