The barrel slowly oxygenates the wine and adds texture and aroma to soften its flavour. Once the wood has been worked, the staves are selected for barrel assembly.

The “argallo” is the groove that allows the connection between the staves and the bottom. The “testa” is the end of the staves with an inclined shape that ends the barrel. The “joint” is the joint between two staves.

The “stopper” can be made from the oak wood itself or from food grade silicone.


  • Testa: closest to the end.
  • Argallo: attached to the head ring, second strap.
  • Neck: separated a few centimetres from the hoop, third strap.
  • Barrigal: fourth strap, closest to the centre of the barrel.

There are a multitude of barrel sizes, although the most commonly used is the 225-litre Bordeaux barrel, with a length of 95 cm. The diameter at the head is 57 cm and at the belly it reaches 70 cm.

The stave thickness of French oak barrels ranges from 24-27 mm, while in American oak barrels it is 27-28 mm.

Each of the boards that make up the bottom of a barrel has its own name. Normally, the bottom is made up of seven boards, but sometimes it can be made up of nine or even more, depending on the width of the boards and the quality of the barrel. The fewer the number of boards, the higher the quality of the barrel.

  • Mediano, located in the centre.
  • Contramediano, next to the mediano.
  • Chantel, at the end of the bottom

Falsete or esquive: this is a hole in the bottom of the head that is used for the traditional racking of wines. The wine is extracted through the falsete hole, leaving the wine with greater turbidity at the bottom of the barrel: the lees.

Crossbeam: board placed on top of the bottom of the barrel. The function of the crossbeam: when the barrel is empty, the bottom of the barrel is pressed against the crossbeam with a lever tool to start the wine flowing out through the false bung. This allows the wine to flow out through the falsework.

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