Tag Archives: decorative wine barrel

NEW! Renovated Wine Barrel

It looks like a Decorative, but it’s not. This is Paso Wine Barrels newest version called Renovated. The Renovated wine barrels cost out about $50 less than a Decorative – yes, $50 less, yet don’t look remarkably different.

Renovated Used Wine Barrel

They are lightly sanded and stained with a sealer. Customers have wanted a barrel with a little more patina, showing off some of its uniqueness and this does the trick – plus that part about it being $50 less.

The barrel will make its first showing at the Olive Festival, Saturday August 15th (Downtown Park in Paso Robles). They will officially go on sale through the website August 20th at $175 – the first barrel available at the Olive Festival will be a one-day sale of $165.

Order now, because with request already coming in, there might be a backlog and wait.


Daryle W. Hier




How To Make A Decorative Wine Barrel

What’s old is new again

Over time, we at Paso Wine Barrels have received many compliments on the beauty and quality of workmanship shown on our Decorative Wine Barrels. These accolades are greatly appreciated. Periodically we receive requests for information on how we handle the make-over of some of the ugliest and most awful looking wine barrels you have ever seen.

Used barrel

Actually, if you are willing to take the time, have the desire and a true “I can do this” attitude, with just average ability and a few tools, you can take that crummy old wine barrel and make it look better than new. Don’t get discouraged, used wine barrels are usually pretty unsightly, but they don’t know it. And note that we had a four part series on recrafting a beat up project barrel – check it out if you want additional information (Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel).

How to do it

An important item in recrafting a wine barrel is the work stand. An empty wine barrel weighs 90 pounds, it is three feet tall and its bottom and top are between 22 and 24 inches in diameter (26 to 27 inches at its widest point), depending on your particular barrel. You don’t want it to tip over on you while working on it. It should stand about a foot and a half off the ground or whatever height is comfortable for you as a good working position.

A suggestion is concrete blocks available at most home and garden centers. They run about a dollar each and a good solid platform can be built for fewer than ten dollars. Another suggestion is a large metal wash tub placed upside down, making sure the diameter gives you about three inches extra all the way around the barrel – so approximately 30 inches in diameter will suffice.

Although it is possible, we do not suggest working on your project without it being elevated. Please keep in mind, that this is hard work and should only be done if you are handy, determined and/or have some woodworking abilities.

Partially sanded barrelThe Process – Sanding

With the barrel sitting on its stand, the process can begin. If you prefer natural color bands (hoops) now is the time to clean them up. Depending on how badly they are stained, the easiest and most efficient way to do it is with a “3M rust/paint remover wheel” attached to an electric drill, which are available at most hardware stores. If this method is not available, hand sanding with a heavy grit (80-100) sand paper should meet the necessary requirements of a clean looking hoop band.  Be sure to sand the bands in a straight horizontal direction around the barrel, not up and down.

When all the bands have been cleaned they are ready to be removed. Remember to never remove all of the bands at the same time. One band must remain below the center of the barrel and one above center at all times – preferably with nails still in them. This is very important as the hoops hold the barrel staves together at both the top and bottom. Should all of the hoops be removed, the barrel WILL come apart. It’s like a giant Rubik’s cube to try to put back together and can take days. Trust us, we learned the hard way.

Sanded wine barrelLeave the top and bottom bands on the barrel, remove the other bands. It will require the removal of the nails (usually mini-hoop nails with a head shaped like an “L” – see thumbnail pic near bottom of article). Remove them by placing a chisel or screwdriver on the edge of the “L” and give it a tap with a hammer then remove them with pliers or side cutters. If the head breaks off, use a small center punch and just drive the remainder of the nail back into the barrel, the band will then slip over the nail hole upon removal.

After detaching the bands (except top and bottom), you are ready to sand. When the hoops are removed, there will be a line where the bands have spent the last five or six years while the wood has faded around them. For your barrel to come out smooth and beautiful when stained, you must sand out all these lines. For best results a belt sander with an 80 grit belt should be used. Care should be taken while sanding to not push too hard on the area where the band lines show. Just take your time and “feather” this area into the body of the rest of the barrel. Don’t get too close to the upper and bottom bands when sanding as this portion will be done after changing the bands and turning the barrel over.

A finish sanding should be done with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the texture and grooves left by the heavier paper on the belt sander. It will take about two 8 x 10 sheets. Cut several 3 x 5 pieces, then with a glove on one hand, sand with up and down strokes staying in line with the grain of the staves. Use the ungloved hand to feel the wood until the finish becomes smooth all around the barrel. Leave about seven to ten inches from the bottom band. This will be sanded when the barrel is turned over.

An arm after sanding wine barrel

Now take the bilge band, the closest band to the center, and install it. Make sure it’s tight by using something like a large punch or a small ball peen hammer placed on the edge of the hoop which you will hit with a bigger hammer. Go around the barrel doing this until the band moves down and tightens up. Now, take three small finish nails, driving one partially in on the upper side of the band and bending the nail over. Go around the barrel doing this in at least three places – you will remove these later. When you know it’s tight you may now remove the top band and continue sanding the upper part of the barrel.  When finished, get the help of another person to carefully turn the barrel over. By the way, use a tarp underneath where you work – there will be a lot of sanded wood material every which way.

Follow the same procedure on this end as you did on the other and when finished, re-install the top hoop and remove the bilge band. Touch-up with the 220 sanding and now you’re ready for staining. Pick a stain of your choice that preferably includes a sealer. Lowes, Home Depot, Ace or most hardware and paint stores have a myriad of stain colors. To insure sealing and give it a rich tone, at least two coats are required.

Stain sealer and varathane  

At Paso Wine Barrels, we go through the same routine for staining as we do for sanding. Remove the bands (except top and bottom), stain the barrel, replace the bands, turn it over to remove the other bands, stain some more, replace the bands, turn the barrel over and finish by permanently affixing the bands.

Stained wine barrel

The next course of action is Varathane or Varnish. We at Paso Wine Barrels prefer Spar Varathane to insure a shiny and professional look. The procedure is best with two to three coats and requires moving the bands around the same as when sanding and stain sealing. An alternative to this would be to mask off the bands with masking tape and just apply the varathane between bands as the last operation when the barrel is finished.

Whether it involves sanding or staining, as the different phases evolve you will find yourself removing bands and re-installing them in order to completely cover the barrel while not removing all the bands. It may sound complicated but once you look at it and see what the barrel needs, it’s really quite simple – hard work but simple. To temporarily re-install each band as you go just use three or four small finish nails, driving them only partially in and bending them over.  Before final installation, they will be removed. Each band will be lined up evenly with the bung hole, receive a final tightening and be attached with professional hoop nails.


Hoop nails are not available in stores; however, they can be found on line at www.dwinesupplies.com or Barrel Builders in St. Helena, California at www.barrelbuilders.com. Each band will have a section where it is held together with two rivets. Use this spot to align the bands with the bung hole on the side of the barrel.

Hoop nails

Setting a hoop nail with the fingers can be painful so a safe and easy way to hold them is with needle nose pliers. The nails are shaped like an “L.” With the pliers, hold the nail on the very tip of the “L” and place the tip of the nail on the bottom of the band between the rivets using a ball peen or smooth tipped hammer. Go directly across to the other side and drive another nail. Now visually measure the distance across and split the diameter to place the other two nails directly across from each other for a total of four nails. Make sure all bands are tight before nailing. Using this procedure, continue nailing until the “top” bands are secure; then turn the barrel over and repeat the process for the remaining bands. Your beautiful natural band, stained, sealed, varathaned, recrafted wine barrel is complete.

Decorative Wine Barrels

If you prefer painted bands, simply wait until you are finished with the barrel. After at least 24 hours use a good masking tape and with newspaper mask off the entire barrel with exception of the bands. Being very careful with the wood surface directly above and below the bands, paint with your preferable color – a primer coat would be the preferred method. The painted band wine barrel project is complete.

There you have it, an almost furniture like barrel that will certainly be the talk of conversation when anyone sees this beautiful reworked wine barrel. Of course, you know where to go to find a used wine barrel – Paso Wine Barrels. Good luck!

Salootie Patootie,

Ron Hier




What To Do With Half Wine Barrels

“I give you one health in the juice of the vine, The blood of the vineyard shall mingle with mine; Thus let us drain the last few drops of gold, And empty our hearts of the blessings they hold.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Used Half Wine Barrel

And what a wine barrel holds is up to your imagination.

The popularity of Paso Robles, which is now known as the number one wine region in world, has brought about empty wine barrels that need repurposed. Obviously, with a lot of barrels including half barrels rolling out of Paso Wine Barrels, there are folks who know what they want. However, for those that may need an idea or bit of information on how to use the half barrels, here’s a few thoughts on what you can do with a half barrel. Okay, maybe more than a few thoughts.

Sometimes known as a planter barrel, actually half barrels are occasionally used as tables or table ends. Whether you have a Decorative-type planter barrel or a more eclectic old used half barrel, that have a more rugged yet whimsical appearance, these half barrels have found their way into homes, offices, warehouses, commercial and industrial buildings as well as yards, atriums, courtyards, entry ways or any of assorted locations.

Half barrel - outside table

By the way, it’s not uncommon to use plastic or composite style barrels instead of the more authentic looking wine barrel – and we understand if you’re trying to save a little money. However, we’re talking about original former wine barrels that have produced some of the greatest wines in the world right here on the California Central Coast.

The more common use of a half barrel, regardless of its conditions, is as a planter.


Whether you’re a wine lover or not, wine barrels offer the big advantage over planting in mother Earth, with the adaptability of moving them; bringing them above ground and to the fore; and, maybe the biggest advantage, keeping your flowers, plants, herbs, vegetables or fruits away from pest.

Maybe the easiest things to grow and promote a plant above ground in a used half barrel is shrubs. Still, regardless of what you plant, these steps can apply.

Please note, as with anything you plant in a barrel, unless it will be indoors, we suggest the barrel have a handful of small holes drilled in the bottom of a half barrel. Also, you need to place a layer of ground cover fabric at the bottom of the barrel to prevent pests and weeds working their way up from below, plus it will keep roots from growing through the holes. You can also add a short layer of small rocks or pebbles on top of the fabric – figure one to two inches deep.

Place the barrel where you want and fill it about half full of soil (a mix of compost, potting soil, dirt). Move some of your soil to the sides and put your shrub in the middle, using the soil pushed aside to fill in around the shrub or plant. The barrel should have at least four inches of space between the soil and the top of the half barrel. Be aware that you can add more plants and more soil but being able to move the barrel in the future becomes harder to handle.

Barrel with rocks

With your soil mix, never go higher than about one inch from the top of the barrel. Be sure to water right after planting, ensuring the ground settles properly in the barrel. Be sure to tamp down the loose dirt. A good gauge of how much water to use is watch when moisture comes out around the bottom of the planter barrel.

Flowers can be done the same way and again, you can add more than one but remember to leave plenty of space between the plants so they have room to grow. Herbs are the same way and depending on what kind of herb, some can really become large plants, although because the barrel places restrictions on growth, they won’t tend to grow quite as large as normal.

Be careful

A tale of caution. Some of the barrels being sold at the big box stores are more worn and less likely to last very long. If you can, you should sand them down and maybe put sealer on so that they will last a bit longer. Again, some stores have whiskey barrels which have been used so much that they come apart very easily. Regardless, sealer is a handy addition especially when it comes to keeping away mildew. A customer who is a master gardener, told me if you don’t want to use a sealer, spray the wood with cider vinegar. It will kill any fungus that may be left over from residue wine.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of sealing your barrel, Paso Wine Barrels has completely prepared Decorative-style barrels – both half and full that are sanded, stained, sealed and then varnish to give a more finished look. That will allow the barrel to last as long as needed while still offering an quirky and capricious appearance.

Half planter barrel - Marilyn Monroe Rose

Another insiders note for those you don’t have proper equipment and tools – hardware stores often have a rental fee system, so you can work your barrel anyway you want including drilling holes, without ever having to purchase tools and accessories.

Some time in the fall, when most plants stop growing or die – unless you live in climes that aren’t severe – you can take your old plants out and replant with fall flowers and herbs. Also you can plant a small Christmas tree – that’s something I’ve done in the past.

Trees can be fun

Which leads me to trees. You have to somewhat careful what kind of tree you want, because the half barrel planter will restrict growth to any tree. Smaller trees or dwarf trees are more ideal but again, because the development of the trees roots will be bound up, a lot of trees you plant will in affect be smaller than normal as a dwarf tree is.

I have a grapefruit tree that is in its sixth year and it can produce a couple dozen fruit. Here’s another insight that may help you. I didn’t want to over water the grapefruit because of the condensed area, but a couple of years weren’t very prosperous because the fruit would fall off before it could develop. I watered much more and the tree flourished. The point of the story is, because the bottom has drainage, you really don’t have to worry about over watering.

If you want to bring the soil up near the top, then use some mulch, so the top of the soil doesn’t dry up. Check with garden clubs or find a nearby master gardener for more information regarding care and what plants work best locally.

Another idea is you can purchase a used full wine barrel and cut a hole in the top and place a tree in it. Unless you want to move it with forklift, don’t fill it more than halfway with soil. Even then, you will need a handcart to move the barrel and tree. Some folks like to shift around trees in their yards and this is a great way to do it. It also looks cool when you change up your yards look.

Full Barrel with black hoop bands

Notice the logs underneath the barrel. Keeping the barrels off the ground can add extra years of service.

Regardless if it’s a full or half barrel, you might find placing logs, bricks or another hard surface underneath, could prolong the barrels for many years.

Note: I’m not a master gardener – although my uncle was – just someone who has been involved with gardening for quite awhile. If you want more precise information regarding tips on what you need to know about gardening, there are books galore and of course, as I suggested earlier, contact your local garden club.

Let this whole barrel thing be fun

Whether you want the grace and elegance of a decorative planter barrel or the obtruse but unique and eclectic old used containers, all styles of oak barrels will offer beauty that can only be had by the pureness of a oak barrel that used to produce great wines.

Less expensive than terra cotta planters, wine barrels in half or full form, are a great way to set off your yard, home, business or any place for that matter. For visual ideas on what you can do with a used wine barrel, Pinterest has dozen and dozens of pictures > go here.

Enough information, now it’s time to go out there and take advantage of the unique and distinctive look of a wine barrel. However, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me here on the blog, email or the several dozen other electronic ways to get a hold of me.

Thank God there is still something simple and solid, yet pure and real like a wine barrel.


Daryle W. Hier





Reminder: Here Is The Big News!

We glossed over the big news last week because of the sudden loss of cohort, colleague and best friend Luis Nunez.  However, it is quite a big change for us to reduce our prices on full Decorative barrels by $100 or more.  These prices will stay with us for awhile but you should take a look at what is now much more affordable and yet at the same time, the exact identical quality.


Here Is The Big News!

Let us know if you’re interested in multiple orders and we will still be able to work out a deal.

By the way, we thank everyone for the private well-wishes and we are determined to take this company to the heights that Luis envisioned.  Thanks again.


Daryle W. Hier




Here Is The Big News!

As we noted before, our first big appearance was this coming Saturday at the Park in Downtown Paso Robles. There we were going to announce by far the biggest news in a our very short history. Here’s that announcement.If Your Waiting For A Sign This Is It

PasoWineBarrels.com will be significantly reducing their prices on all Decorative Wine Barrels by up to $150! This includes our half barrels such as the Planter Barrels and Hose Holders.


The price reduction was in part brought on by a couple of main reasons. First, we’ve been working hard to reduce the time and labor put into each barrel, plus our own experience throughout the process gave us the ability eliminate unneeded procedures. Second, influenced by our just deceased best friend Luis Nunez, who felt the price point was a bit high, and having polled different friends and cohorts, we found the new prices to be much more inline with what folks were willing to invest.

The new prices are listed below:

The the biggest percentage drop is the Decorative Wine Barrel, which was reduced 20%. The most significant overall dollar reduction is the Decorative Glasstop Table, which plunged $150.

There is still room for more discounts depending on quantities ordered and whether the barrel is supplied by the customer or not – please contacts us for questions or details. Other reductions in price may occur periodically with specials or other possible unique deals that may be presented.

Here to stay

These prices are permanent as this is not a special. At some future time when the market dictates and cost change, these prices may be altered, but for now, this reduction will stay in affect until further notice.

So there you have it. We certainly had wished that our number one fan Luis, could see this but he knew that we were reducing the prices and I’m sure would have had a ball helping us sell our barrels, which he loved with a passion.Go Ahead It Will Be Fun

Now go ahead, quit procrastinating because we’ve given you every reason to purchase one of these incredible products. You’ll have fun with an extraordinary barrel that will always be talked about.


Daryle W. Hier