What is a Bunghole in Winemaking? banner image

What is a Bunghole in Winemaking?

Bunghole Definition: Wine flows in and out of barrels through an opening called a bunghole. These are plugged by a stopper called a bung. A top bunghole is utilized for filling the barrel, topping it up, stirring it on its lees and tasting it. A bunghole at the head is used for racking the wine.

A bung may be made of plastic, rubber, wood or silicone. The latter is often used today because it provides a tight fit, helping to prevent excessive oxygen exposure which could affect the wine’s development. It is common for barrels to have two bungholes, one on top and one on the head.

Here’s a bit of bunghole trivia that will make you sound like a pro the next time you tour a wine cellar. If the top bung is positioned straight up at its highest point, that’s called “bung up.” If the bung rests at either ten or two o’clock, that’s known as “bung over.” Have as much fun with those terms as you like!

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