At Stanton & Killeen, we love fortifieds as much as you do and offer unparalleled support, a huge range of bulk material and complementary winemaking analysis to ensure your own personal blend is the best it can be.

Owning your own small wine barrel is a wonderful way to develop your own blend with the convenience of having a generous supply all year round. If maintained carefully, your blend and barrel can last for generations, much like the fortified wine we have nurtured here at S&K. As one of Rutherglen's best fortified producers, we are committed to offering premium bulk fortifieds, pre-seasoned Australian made barrels and individual support. Our Barrel Club is a way for us to reward our customers. The best thing about owning your own barrel is that we can supply you with great base material, and over time, the blend becomes something entirely unique depending on how you mature your blend. 

Give us a call at the winery on (02) 6032 9457 to discover more about bulk fortified and barrels.

To learn about our Liquid Luxury Packages, click here.

To purchase bulk fortified for your existing barrel, click here.

Barrel Seasoning

We source our Australian hand-crafted barrels from two South Australian producers. We pre-season the barrels at the winery to withdraw as much 'new oak' flavour from the barrel as possible. The longer a barrel seasons at S&K, the better, and if time permits we can do a double-season. This process means that when you get the barrel home and fill it with your choice of new, fresh fortified, there is less chance of your barrel taking on too much 'oakiness' in its first year.

We use the following process at the winery;
• Hot washing – This will clean any leftover wood particles in the barrel.
• Swelling with hot water – This will swell the barrel to ensure the hoops are set in place, and that there are no leaks in the barrel itself.
• Fill with young fortified – This will begin the seasoning process and can take up to 6-12 months.

Barrels still need to be monitored to ensure they don’t become too oakey. Should you notice that your blend is taking up a lot of wood characteristics, you may need to top up with fresh material. It doesn’t hurt to withdraw 10-20% into bottles and then top up with fresh fortified. By doing this you will keep a good, aged base material, but also get a good hit of freshness in your wine. The wine you have withdrawn can be slowly re-introduced over time.

Barrel Sample Testing

We recommend that you keep you barrel as full as possible, and every 15-18 months have the sulphur levels of your wine checked. Sulphur levels are just as important as keeping your barrel full, as it acts as a preserver along with alcohol and sugar. You may have heard of the 'Angel's Share' which contributes to the luscious flavours of fortifieds; as your barrel breathes and ages, some wine evapourates and levels will drop. This will happen a lot quicker if there is more empty space inside the barrel. Stanton & Killeen provide a wine analysis service, where we can test the sulphur levels, pH and other elements. We can supply sulphur tablets if needed with the expectation that you return the favour by using our excellent quality wine to top up your barrel!

Bulk Fortifieds & Barrels

All of the bulk fortifieds are an ongoing blend and they are made in a different way to the wines for our bottled material. We try and keep the bulk wines consistent, but sometimes there is a variance. It is best for the customer to try the wine before they buy. All of these wines are great for ageing in barrel. It’s best not to store these wines in the plastic containers long term (no more than a few months). It should either go into a barrel, or into glass bottles. In a barrel, the wine will age; in glass, it will not. Visit us at the winery to taste our full range or read above the different bulk material in our Online Shop.

Blending Tips

As a general rule in winemaking, you should not blend different varieties of fortified (e.g. Muscat and Topaque, Muscat and Tawny). This is all down to personal taste of course, and you will find that some folks are happy to put all sorts of things in their barrels. We recommend that a “test blend” in a glass is done before pouring anything into your barrel.

As far as adding extra spirits (e.g. Cognac, brandy, rum), we would not recommend it. Again, it’s down to personal taste, but our fortifieds are all at 17.5% alc-19% alc, which is a standard for fortifieds. Any additional spirit will increase the “warmth” or “heat” of the wine, and will detract from the fruit. We have a regular group of customers with multiple 200L barrels, who are still seeing the effects of adding cognac to a barrel late one evening almost 15 years ago.

Important: Keep your barrel as full as possible. No less than 2/3rds full