Different types of wine barrels 

At the heart of winemaking culture, wine barrels are not just containers to store and age this precious liquid; they are essential architects that shape its character and define its essence. Behind every exceptional wine and cava, there is a story told through the wood of its barrel. At 15 Bodegas, we understand that the choice of wine barrel is as much a science as it is an art, deeply influencing the aromas, flavors, and texture of the wine.


Types of wooden barrels and their unique characteristics

Each type of wood used in the production of wine barrels leaves a distinctive mark on the wine. At 15 Bodegas, we carefully select our barrels to ensure that each wine reflects the essence of its terroir and the vision of our enologist.


Oak barrels: French, American, and Spanish

Oak is synonymous with tradition in the winemaking process. The choice between French, American, and Spanish is not accidental; each one brings different notes and complexities to the wine. French oak barrels are known for their fine grain and smooth influence, bringing elegance and complexity, with subtle and balanced notes. In contrast, American oak barrels, with their much wider grain and reduced density, release deeper aromas and notes of vanilla and coconut, more aggressively marking the profile of the wine.​ Spanish oak barrels, on the other hand, align more with French barrels, but with a character of their own, bringing mature and enveloping notes.​ 

Alternative wood barrels: acacia, cherry, and pine 

Beyond oak, there are several alternative woods such as acacia, cherry, and pine. Each one offers a different aromatic palette. Acacia is ideal for white wines, bringing floral notes and freshness. Cherry, with its two types of wine barrels according to the level of toasting, can add fruity nuances or those more closely related to berries, which can give more pronounced flavors to red wines depending on whether or not they are toasted.​ Pine barrels, generally used in the production of Canary wines, bring aromas characteristic of resin, creating wines with a distinctive seal.​



The process of barrel toasting and its impact on the wine

Barrel toasting is a meticulous and essential process that marks the identity of each wine. At 15 Bodegas, we recognize that the level of toasting undergone by wine barrels is not just a technical detail, but an artistic detail that defines the soul of the wine. 


Barrel-toasting levels, from light to strong

Barrel toasting is done by heating the inside with fire, a method that has been perfected throughout the centuries. This process caramelizes the sugars in the wood and releases a variety of aromatic compounds that infuse the wine. Depending on the intensity of the toasting, we can obtain different profiles in the wine: light toasting offers subtle notes of walnuts or coconut, preserving the natural flavors of the different grape varieties; medium toasting adds essences of cocoa or vanilla; and strong toasting adds smokey and robust nuances. This is perfect for a Reserva wine​​ like our Viña Pomal Selección 106 Reserva from D.O. Rioja, a wine with spicy notes of licorice and black fruits, both expressive and balanced. 
The art of barrel toasting is a science in itself. The duration and temperature of the toasting must be carefully controlled in order to achieve the desired profile. In the 15 Bodegas online wine store, our enologists work in close collaboration with the barrel-makers to ensure that each barrel optimally contributes to the wine’s character and complexity. This process not only enhances aromas and flavors, but also influences the texture and color of the wine, contributing to the full sensory experience that characterizes our wines. 


Types of barrels and their influence on wine aging

The type of barrel chosen is a determining factor in the wine-aging process. Each barrel has its own personality and brings a unique nuance to the wine, influencing its evolution from the moment of aging until it is enjoyed in the glass. 


Standard barrels vs foudres

Standard barrels hold around 225 liters, and are the most commonly used in winemaking. These barrels allow for close contact between the wine and the wood, infusing intense flavors and aromas and contributing to the wine’s tannic structure. 
In contrast, foudres, with capacities ranging from a few hundred to several thousand liters, offer more subtle aging. Their large size reduces the surface-volume ratio, lowering contact between the wine and the wood and allowing a slower and more controlled evolution of the wine. Wooden foudres are particularly appreciated in certain regions and styles of wine, seeking to preserve the natural flavors of the grape and more harmoniously integrate the influence of the wood. 


Black grapes for wine barrelsBlack grapes for wine barrels
French wine barrelsFrench wine barrels

 Impact of the size and age of the barrel

The size of the wine barrel is another crucial aspect in aging. Smaller barrels intensify the wood’s influence, while larger barrels allow for more subtle and less woody aging. What’s more, the age of the wine barrels plays an important role. New wine barrels, with fresh and porous wood, tend to give more flavors and aromas to the wine, while used barrels offer a more discreet influence. At 15 Bodegas, we carefully balance the use of new and old barrels to achieve the desired expression in each of our wines, always seeking harmony between the fruit and the wood.​ 
The choice of barrel is much more than a simple decision in wine production; it is the expression of art, science, and tradition. This meticulous attention to detail in the choice of wine barrels reflects our passion not only for offering exceptional wines, but also for unforgettable enotourism experiences. We invite all wine lovers to immerse themselves in the world of 15 Bodegas, where the art of winemaking comes to life. Visit our wineries and feel the essence of the terroir in each glass, understanding how each choice in the winemaking process contributes to creating those moments of pleasure that define our wines. 
At 15 Bodegas, each wine barrel tells a story, and each wine is an opportunity to discover and celebrate the rich tradition and innovative spirit of winemaking. We can’t wait to share the magic of our wines and the passion that goes into every aspect of their creation with you.