FAQ's - Used Wine Barrels

What quality criteria does Mystic Barrels look for when buying and selling used wine barrels?

When we go shopping for truckloads of whiskey and wine barrels, we look for 3 primary things:
     Recently dumped barrels - This ensures that the barrels are structurally sound and the hoops/bands are tightly secured.
All of our wines barrels have only been used for wine only; not beer, ciders, or any other products that could become problematic.
       Flat Heads - Often times, whiskey barrel heads and become warped due to the swelling of the wood. We inspect each barrel to ensure it has a flat head, so you can rest a drink, food or decoration right on top of the barrel.
       No major cracks or damage - Whiskey barrels can get damaged over the course of their life aging whiskey. We inspect each barrel to ensure there are no major cracks or other imperfections that would interrupt the aesthetics or functionality of the barrel.

What is the difference between the used whiskey and used wine barrels? Which should I buy?

Both whiskey and wine barrels can be used in all of the same ways, and for all of the same DIY projects!
When deciding between the two, the decision typically comes down to your preference on appearance, or simply your preference for whiskey or wine as a beverage!
The whiskey barrels inherently have a more rustic character and appeal. The wine barrels retain a cleaner, lighter, and newer look, and often have light red wine stains throughout.
Either way, you can't go wrong!

Can I leave the wine barrels outside?

Absolutely! As with most wooden furniture, decks, or siding, wood tends to 'gray' over time if left unprotected. For barrels, this is often a desired appearance.
If you prefer the barrel to retain a more original appearance, I would recommend coating the barrel in an exterior grade polyurethane. 

Will the wine barrel hold liquid? 

Our wine barrels may or may not be liquid-tight. If they are not, they are typically pretty easy to rehydrate by filling with water and allowing it to leak until the wood swells enough to seal. 
If you need a liquid-tight barrels, we would recommend going with our used whiskey barrels, which are liquid-tight from the get-go!


Can I refurbish a barrel myself?

Definitely! Its hard work, but a beautiful end product.
In fact, check out our 4-part DIY Series at the link below:
DIY Series: Refurbishing a Whiskey or Wine Barrel

Can you refurbish the barrel for us?

Yes, again! Below is the link to our refurbished whiskey and wine barrels:
Refurbished Whiskey and Wine Barrels

Is there anything we need to do to the wine barrel once we get it? 

If locating a used barrel indoors, the only thing we would recommend is that you may want to secure the hoops to the barrel. 
Dry indoor air can often dry out a barrel. This can result in the barrel hoops/bands loosening and sometime shifting or falling. We would recommend securing each hoop to the barrel using sheet metal screws, or drilling a hole and adding a wood screw or nail. 3 fasteners per hoops should do the trick!
Here is a DIY video showing the process we use for securing the hoops to the barrel.