opinions on refurbished barrels

looking for opinions on barrel refurb, is it worth it? How similar to a new barrel can you get flavorwise?

Why would you want to? [stirthepothal.gif]

I believe refurbished barrels are toasted with an electric element for a longer time, which is quite different from fire toasted. Also, they shave the inside of the barrel, so the barrel will be more oxidative cuz of the thinner staves. New barrels are more oxidative than older barrels (the pores get clogged in the older barrels)…refurbished barrels will be more oxidative than new ones. Might or might not be an issue for you, but it is a difference. That’s my understanding of the differences.

You have to look at the overall savings to see if it’s worth it to you or not. For example, if you use 1/3 new oak each year, the cost of new oak is spread out over 3 barrels, or about 900 bottles of wine. If a new French Oak barrel costs $1000, you’re at about a $1 per bottle. And American Oak would be $0.40 per bottle at most. I’m not sure what the refurbished barrels would cost, but are you willing to risk the quality of your wine over savings of less than a dollar per bottle? Or 25 cents or so if you use American Oak? If you’re making a $10 retail bottle of wine, the answer is probably yes. if you’re making a $50 bottle of wine, I’d hope the answer is no. Even at 100% new oak levels… you have to judge the risk/reward… and I doubt it adds up , unless you’re making a “value” wine.

You don’t want to use refurbished barrels. The quality of the toast is not that great, the thin staves lead to faster aging/oxidation, and they develop leaks like no get out. A better option for oak flavor, if you’re unable to justify the cost of new french oak, is to use a small percentage of American oak (for the toast and vanillans) and a variety of French oak inserts (for the sweetness, tannin, etc.), maintaining the percentage under 20%, as they have a more obvious oaky effect than new French barrels. Your best option, though, is to get nice enough fruit that you can make a really nice wine with good tannin balance without using oak. Let the vineyard shine, as they say. That, however, is not the easiest to do.

Thanks guys, makes sense. Honestly I’ve never seen a trial done with bbl refrub and I was talking with someone who piqued my curiousity about the option. Inserts can be a pain so I was looking at other options. It’s not really about showing new oak flavor for me (which inserts can do) just wondering if I can get a realistic second use out of a french oak barrel for the cost of a new american oak barrel.