After enjoying the beautiful Peller Estates lawn + view and the tour in the vineyard, it was time to head into the wine cellar. What about the pressing of the grapes and fermentation process? Well, apparently Peller Estates does that at their sister vineyard. We were a little bummed that we weren’t seeing the whole wine making process, but I guess we know to ask more questions about the tour next time. Why didn’t we just go to the sister vineyard + take another tour? Simply put, we wanted to make it back to Ohio at a good time + we knew crossing the border would take a little while.
Anyway, the wine cellar was beautiful. It was temperature controlled at 14 degrees Celsius, which is about 55 degrees F. There was also 80% humidity in the cellar, to help prevent too much evaporation happening from the wine barrels. These 100% oak barrels only held the red wines. The white wines are kept in stainless steel — which were not stored here.
This cellar houses two types of oak barrels; those from France + those from the United States. The barrels from France cost about $1000-$1500 each. They come from a slow growing oak. The wood has small pores. With these facts, the oak does not over power the wine flavor. The United States barrels on the other hand cost $300-$600 each. As you might assume from the cost difference, the US oak grows faster and the wood has bigger pores. This causes oak play into the wine flavor.
Each barrel creates about 300 bottles of wine. The barrels are used about 5 times each. Each time may variate from 2 months to 2 years! Our tour guide said that “old” barrels may be sold to garden centers or wholesalers for use. Barrels make great rain containers or fun pieces in the garden!
The bottom of the barrel is stamped with country of origin as well as other information. One interesting stamp on these barrels was “M + TH” — meaning, Medium Toasted Head. This means that the inside of the oak barrel interior was burned, or “toasted”. The barrels also come in “charred” or “light” variations. The toasting of the barrel also helps determine the flavor of the wine. Below is a closer look at a stamp.
What else did I learn about these barrels? On top of each barrel there is a way to add more wine to keep the barrels constantly full. Overtime, small amounts of evaporation does happen — so refilling is necessary. The very first photo in the post shows little caps on the top the best.
I hope you enjoyed the information about wine barrels! The next, and last, recap will be about the 5 S’s of wine tasting! Be prepared for photos of Mr. Healthy since I do not like alcohol!