Paul Mueller Company Academy

Your Wine Barrel Costs: Oak vs Stainless Steel [Infographic]

The true cost of a wine barrel goes far beyond its price tag.  Other factors that go into the total cost of ownership are lifespan of the barrel, loss of wine due to evaporation, and labor needs.  Our infographic will help you understand the impact wine barrels have on your bottom line long term.


wine barrel comparison infographic


Barrel Costs

An oak barrel can range in price from $900 all the way up to $2,000 depending on if it is made from American Oak or French Oak.  An oak barrel will only  continue to give your wine that oak flavor for, at most, 8 fills.  Over the course of 30 years you can spend, at least, $4,500 replacing that barrel.

A stainless steel wine barrel will cost around the same at $900.  The key difference is a stainless steel wine barrel can last much longer.  A barrel that is well cared for can easily last more than 30 years.  That is a difference of, at least, $3,600. 

Wine Loss

An oak wine barrel isn't completely air tight.  As a result, one oak barrel can lose up to six gallons a year from evaporation!  That is the equivalent of 30 bottles of wine.  Multiply those 30 bottles by how many barrels you have in service and that starts to add up to a very significant number.  

A stainless steel barrel is air tight.  The end result is you do not lose any wine to evaporation. 

Man Hours Required

An Oak barrel requires a lot more maintenance than its stainless steel counterpart.  

Oak wine barrels require:

  • curing
  • topping off
  • sulfur treatments
  • emptying
  • cleaning

Those activities add up to, on average, five minutes per barrel.  That equates to roughly $1.66 per barrel, assuming your worker is paid $20 per hour.

A stainless steel barrel requires much less attention.

Stainless steel wine barrels require:

  • emptying
  • cleaning
  • sanitizing

Those activities take, on average, one minute total per barrel.  That equates to roughly $0.33 per barrel, assuming your worker is paid $20 per hour.

Total Cost Of Ownership

Once you consider how much a barrel will cost  over its lifetime, you can really see the value of a Mueller stainless steel wine barrel.  A quality stainless steel wine barrel can cost less up front, last far longer, lose less wine, and take less time to clean than a traditional oak barrel.

You can make the move to Paul Mueller Company stainless steel wine barrels and start creating some wonderful wines in a barrel that will last!

Topics: Wine

About Paul Mueller Company Academy

Teaching and sharing ideas has long been part of the rich heritage at Paul Mueller Company. We have almost a century of quality craftsmanship guiding the way we apply new learnings. Paul Mueller Company Academy is a collection point for those learnings, so we can collaborate and grow more successful together. You will find articles, blogs, guides, infographics and more dedicated to furthering knowledge for all, in the world of stainless steel processing equipment solutions. We hope you enjoy!