What is the best barrel size for winemaking?

How to make a wooden barrel water tight?
January 10, 2018

The 228 liters pièce bourguignonne and the 225 liters barrique bordelaise often appear as references, when it comes to high end winemaking. However, there are many different barrel sizes that can work very well for their particular context or terroir.

In Chablis, the white wines are often made and aged in 132 liters casks called feuillettes. Whereas many winemakers from south France might prefer bigger sizes such as 500 liters, in order to facilitate the manipulations and maintenance (e.g. fewer units to clean or move around…).

The type of wine, the grape variety, the winemaking style and traditions are as many factors that can influence the “perfect size” of an oak barrel. The Cavin cooperage chose to focus on a broad optimal range, with barrel capacities going from 114 to 600 liters.

The 57 liters quarteaut cask can of course be used as an extra container, but its small capacity does not always guarantee the best winemaking conditions. The oak surface to wine ratio can be too high, and cause wine aging to bring to much “wood” taste. The opposite is true for huge barrels, where oak intake will be too low and diluted. Hence, we do not make these.

The Cavin cooperage has great experience with many different terroirs, so do not hesitate to contact us if you have particular needs or questions.


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