The wine barrels arrived today. I did some homework before buying them. Most of the used ones on eBay that are rather cheap are very likely not water tight, and run the risk of having mold or other contaminants in them. The cooper I got mine from makes them new, and they are rather cheap, being made in Mexico. My apartment smells heavenly at the moment. I thought they'd smell smokey and overwhelming, but all I smell is a wonderful warm oak and vanilla aroma.
Anyway, if it's something that doesn't need to be watertight, it's going to be cheaper still to just go with toasted oak chips from a homebrew shop. They are available online too.
I have to hammer in the bungs and assemble the racks that came with mine. They look even better in person than they did from the photos.
If anyone is curious about the barrels, they are from here. Free shipping didn't hurt either. The lettering is an optional expense and they look 10x better without them anyway.http://www.ebay.com/itm/250898152612?ss...439.l2649#