Caring for Your Traditional Spanish Bota

January 2010

Each of our traditional bota wineskins is crafted from flawless goat's hide. Each hide is cured with vegetable oils to make it pliable. Then the skin is cut and sewn by hand to make a tight pleating. Next, it is turned inside out and pitch is applied. Very short bristles of hair are left on the leather to hold the pitch for the inside of each bag. This is heated to create a water proof resin that will last for years. Finally, the bota is sewn together by hand and the final touches are added. There are about 40 stages from the time the skin arrives and the wineskin is finished. This is truly one of the finest botas you can buy.

The pitch lining of the traditional bota has a strong taste of its own. Therefore it is necessary to prepare your traditional bota before using it to hold good wine. First, warm it in the sun so that the pitch within will distribute evenly. Next, blow into the mouth of the bota to inflate it and separate the pitch from its sides-- the more you have warmed the pitch the easier it will be to inflate the bota.

Add cold water and set the bota aside to cure. After 24-36 hours, replace the water with inexpensive wine and let it cure for as long as you can. Discard the wine and your bota will be ready to use.

You only have to do this process once if you are going to keep the wine-skin in continual use. If you are going to set it aside for a while, drain out the contents and leave the cover off. You will need to go though the break in process again when you begin to use the bota later.

This procedure is only necessary for the pitch-lined botas, not those lined with latex. Caring for an authentic bota can be a bother, except for the purist. For most people, the latex lining makes life simpler.

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