Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Large format barrels:

As we get ready for the up coming 2010 harvest I can help myself but to challenge the team of coopers here at Oregon Barrel Works (at least that is what I like to call it, they may have a different name for it). For years wineries have inquired about large format barrels, as well as fermentors (I will leave that one alone for now, maybe next year). Well 2010 is the year. Back in 2006 we cut a small amount of Oregon oak staves for 400 liter barrels. We also had our stave supplier in France do the same with French oak. So this year we will be offering both Oregon oak and French oak 400 liter Puncheons.

Oregon Oak staves for 400 liter barrels

It is not just easy as one would think:
o All the wood we use is three year air-dried, thus we have at least three years into the project before we can make barrels.
o The end-trim saw and the inside and outside planer need to be retooled to accommodate the longer lengths and lager diameter.
o The angles on the jointer set for the larger diameters.
o We need larger truss hoops the thick metal hoops we use to form the barrels.
o New larger toasting pots that keep the same height to diameter ratio.
o The crozer, the machine that cuts the chime, howell and chamfer need to be retooled and adjusted the larger size barrel.
o The rounding saw, the saw that cuts the heads, needs to be retooled and adjusted for the larger size barrels.
o New hoop steel flared for the larger diameter and longer in length
o Resetting the hoop press.
o Resetting the barrel sander.

I am sure I left something out, but the point being barrels are not a cookiecutter type project.

Jointing Oregon Oak for 400 liter barrels