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Term for a cylindrical container, usually bulbous, made of various materials such as wood, metal, plastic or ceramic for the storage of liquids. In viticulture, barrels are usually made of wood because this material is breathable and allows a controlled amount of oxygen to enter, which is generally desirable when ageing wine. For filling and emptying, it has a small opening known as a bunghole.

Holzfass / Fass mit Weintraube und Rotweingals

It can also be open on one side and is fitted with a lid. In the case of large drums, an access point in the base (drum latch) allows one person to clean the drum. The cylindrical shape enables effortless handling, moving and space-saving stacking. Barrels of different types and volumes play an important role with regard to the expansion. They used to be made by the cooper's trade. Today, however, wooden barrels are mostly produced industrially in companies known as tonnelleries. The historical development is described in detail under Wine Vessels.

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Markus J. Eser

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Markus J. Eser
Weinakademiker und Herausgeber „Der Weinkalender“

The world's largest Lexicon of wine terms.

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