Americans have become increasingly focused on exciting new hobbies and crafts, and one of the most popular has been the enjoyment of fine wines. Whether it's chasing down rare bottles or even fermenting your own batch, being involved in the wine process can be an extremely exciting and rewarding adventure.
If you've decided to branch out and attempt your first batch of homemade wine, you'll need to set up your fermentation and storage equipment. Though tradition suggests wooden barrels are required, steel wine barrels have become increasingly popular and effective. Below, you'll find a guide to some of the benefits of steel wine barrels, allowing you to make an informed decision about your setup.
One of the biggest hesitations that new wine makers have about the craft is the cost involved. Wine barrels made of oak or other wood break down and degrade over time, requiring expensive replacements that have to be continuously treated and observed to make sure they aren't damaging your delicate product.
Steel barrels, however, never need to be replaced. As long as they are thoroughly cleaned and dried after each usage, your barrels should remain strong for as long as you maintain your wine production. They will be free of parasites, free of blemishes, and free of the intense maintenance that wooden alternatives require.
An increased focus on an environmentally sustainable ethic has led main people to question the impact their activities have on the planet. Wine barrels are actually a significant contributor to the clear cutting of a large amount of forest land, as the constant replacement of the barrels creates a never ending cycle of demand that always requires more materials.
Steel barrels, however, are often constructed from recycled materials. This means that they will continue to maintain their environmental benefit, as they won't degrade and require delicate replacements or landfill space to dispose of. This will allow you to move forward with your wine production with a clear conscience.
Old fashioned wine producers will claim that wooden barrels are essential for flavoring the wine, but this ignores the viability of introducing wood chips or other implements to allow for the same flavor to be imparted. Wood barrels are also particularly susceptible to contaminants leeching in through the porous barrels, altering the flavor of the wine in ways that are unpleasant. Steel barrels from companies like The Barrel Company will allow you to have full control over the fermentation process and achieve the exact flavor that you desire.