How to protect your oak barrels from TCA and odours in transit 


Cooper shipping French oak barrels to several wineries around the world.


The challenge:

Our customers needed to ship oak barrels to the US in safe conditions, avoiding any risk of cross contamination. At that moment, due to the Covid-19 breakout, freight forwarders were facing an undersupply of compliant equipment, lack of time to keep the hygiene and quality control standards, as well as shipment delay at ports.


About oak barrels and TCA risks:

Haloanisoles are winemakers’ worse enemies. They are a family of volatile chemical compounds (the most common in wine known is TCA) that can contaminate wines and cause musty or moldy aromas, an aroma that wine drinkers associate with defective corks. TCA can also develop when certain compounds are in contact with wood products used in the winemaking process, such as oak barrels or chips. Any winery wants to avoid barrels taint with TCA.

Coopers craft their barrels with the same care than winemakers create their wines. Oak barrels are hand-made by “master cooper” and the process might require between 2 and 4 years with strict temperature, humidity and hygiene measures. Thus, coopers want to ensure that oak barrels reached destination with the same condition than left the cooperage.



The solution:

Wood can be easily tainted in a container and requires a low humidity level during transit so that the barrel can maintain its properties. In certain periods, such as now due to the Covid-19 crisis, it is much more difficult to find appropriate containers or to have time to make all the analytics to ensure the cleanness and hygiene of the container.


Hillebrand provide the optimum solution with its integral insulation liner. A tested barrier against TCA and other compounds contamination, protecting from container rain while reducing temperature and humidity shifts during transportation. The foil of Hillebrand Insulation liner has  a Water Vapor Transmissions Rate smaller or equal to 2 g/m²/day which means a really low humidity permeability level (test method ASTM F 1249) . 

Hillebrand integral insulation liner covers the full container, sealing the cargo inside a clean and non-tainted atmosphere. This patented technology ensures that the degree of humidity will not shift drastically ensuring a safer transportation for the oak barrels and any sensitive cargo. 


Hillebrand conducted a test with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) under the supervision of Scorpex Wine Services. This research showed that the Hillebrand insulation liner, made of fully recyclable material, is an effective barrier against halophenols haloanisoles, naphthalene and hydrocarbons compounds.


A 1 mm polypropylene film that allows the migration of taint compounds is generally used as standard against contamination. The research showed that Hillebrand integral insulation liner reduces migration to less than 4.6% of this standard against TCA, meaning that is Hillebrand’s solution is much more efficient to protect sensitive cargo from contamination.


Hillebrand expertise in wine can also help to protect other products related to the wine business, such as corks or barrels, that also need a special care within transportation. 


The results:

Efficient and effective way to ship oak barrels or any other product that requires extra-protection from possible contaminants such as haloanisoles, halophenols, naphthalene or hydrocarbons. A safe transportation to ensure a safe crafting of the wines with an optimized container capacity (specific integral insulation liner version for container 40’ High Cube). 


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