Collect Rain Water With a Wine Barrel





Introduction: Collect Rain Water With a Wine Barrel

I think I read all instructables on this site about collecting rain water.

Finally I've decided to build my own one with a wine barrel because I didn't want to destroy the look of my future-to-be terrace. I always found rain water collectors super ugly. It's usually an old plastic tank or barrel; handy but not very nice to the eye (and I didn't have the motivation to build something like this to hide it.

Anyway, here's how I did it.


- a wine barrel (found on eBay for 50 EUR) - make sure to get one with a lid and a cork (usually it's a special cork located in the belly part of the barrel)
- a rain water collector to hook up to the gutter (found on eBay for 19 EUR - but otherwise available in nearly all DIY shop) - I choose that model because the collected water would come out via a little tube and not an "open-air" half-pipe
- driller
- flat wood drill heads
- some screws
- an old piece of board about the length of the barrel's lid
- a handle

Step 1: Prepare the Barrel's Lid

Usually wine barrel's lids are a bit wobbly.

They are made of some planks inserted in each other, and are supposed to be inserted in a groove at the top, inside the barrel. Because of that I had to make the lid stronger so it would resist to frequent usage.

I found an old piece of wood board in my garage and screwed it tight at the back of the lid. I made sure to use rustproof (inox) screws. In order to be able to close the barrel and properly put the lid back on, (and because the lid is round) I had to saw the 4 corners of the board as you can see on the picture.

Last year we bought a new kitchen and we received two extra handles (don't ask me why), so I've decided to use one of them for my barrel.

The screws that came with the handle weren't long enough to go through the thickness of the lid + the board attached at the back. So I used a flat drill head to make a wider hole and reduce the thickness so I could properly attach the handle.

Make sure to place the handle in the middle of the lid, it's not only more beautiful but also easier to manipulate when you open/close the barrel.

Step 2: Connect the Rain Water Collector on the Gutter

I followed the instructions that came with the PVC rain water collector (rwc) to hook it up to one of my gutter. It was super easy, I just had to saw a section of 8cm off the gutter at the right height and insert the collector.

IMPORTANT! In order to have an overflow and avoid my barrel to be overfilled, I installed the rwc a bit lower than the top of the barrel. Therefore the water in the barrel can't go higher than the height on the gutter where the water is collected.

I drilled a large hole with the wood flat drill head, inserted the transparent tube that came with the rwc then used silicon (same as for a shower tub or bath) to sealed it and make it water proof so the water could flow back via the tube should it reach a certain level in the barrel.

Step 3: Here Comes the Rain

Within one week my barrel was full to the top (I was even surprised to get so much water in just a week). I now use it to water my plants, flowers, to wash my terrace etc...

There's still a little bit of wine smell when you open the barrel, but that's more a positive point than a negative one ;-)



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    22 Discussions

    You know besides activated carbon you could place large amounts of zinc or copper metal (Not the salt) the metal. It would work quite well to reduce the harmful bacteria that may be growing in the water. Since you are putting it into the garden their is a risk (small) of pathogenic bacteria and fungi growing on your crop. This could really help. Another option is silver metal (Silver plated copper) but it may be very expensive.

    Did you worry about the wine impacting your garden? I purchased a whiskey barrel and was surprised with how fragrant it is - I'm slightly concerned if it will be harmful to my plants.

    While we all know about the need to save water, This is an area where you need to be careful. The water all runs over petrol based shingles, which shed there particals on a daily basis. Even when only using to water a garden, YOU still take in what the shingle releases. It would be a great idea to filter it as if you were going to drink it, because in essence you will be. Just a thought from a Roofer with 20+ yrs on the job. JMHO

     Great.  I've got an oak barrel and will do what you've suggested.  But how do you get the top off without destroying it?

    1 reply

     hi bgmd,

    i'm not a "barrel expert", but as far as I know, i think you'll have to remove or loosen the top metal band in order to be able to push a little bit the planks aside so the top can come off its groove.

    the way it works now with my barrel is that the lid is no longer in the groove, but on top of it (see my drawing on imagehsack  here). Personally the top came off quick easily, I only had to loosen a bit the metal band (I used a flat screw driver and a hammer to tap the band up)

    hope this helps

    Nice handle!  I appreciate the aesthetics of  using a natural wood wine barrel as opposed to those ugly, plastic barrels.  Very classy set-up.

    1 reply

    hi, there the barrel is 225 liter so I think it's about 49,5 gallons. btw, by "blech" did you mean "bleach"? I wouldn't be in favour of using bleach as this is really not ecological and secondly as I'm using the water for my plants and flowers, they do not need sterilized water. For the impurities, there a built-in filter in the rain water collector that filters leaves, moss and other debris

    ohhh thats a very good idea you should make a second ible for actual drinkable filtrating barrel probably a layer of sand smashed coal sand smashed coal then sand again and a lump of clay in the second layer for some better tasting water I learned that from the colony on discovery channel

    btw, i found a solution to have "clean" water in my barrel. (not frinkable, but just clean-er) I put in the barrel some charcoal pieces from my fireplace and this is enough to prevent any fungus to develop or stuff like that. It's like those filter jugs, some work with "active charcoal", this is the same principle, the charcoal will ensure the water remains +/- clean. For the moment it's floating in the barrel, but I'm planning to create a little net with some fence wire I have and have the charcoal trapped in it (a bit like a fishing net)

    Frozened Juice Concentrate Distributors will usually sell there big plastic ones, along with the hardware, to put a spigot toward the bottom & one toward the top that all you have to do is screw on a water hose.

    This is an excellent idea for those who do not want to invest in a rain water barrel. Given the water shortage situations in several states in the US, water conservation is important. Some more tips on how to conserve water can be found at

    Love it love it love it - I have been putting off getting a rain barrel because they are so ugly, now I can get started on this with no restrictions about putting it out front or in the back out of sight. Way to go!