Wine barrel planters, also called half barrels or whiskey barrels, provide a rustic, durable container for your favorite plants. Often these barrels don't have drainage holes to allow excess water to drain freely from the soil. Poor drainage results in soggy soil, which can lead to root rot and other plant problems. Although some moisture is wicked from the soil by the wood sides, a few well-placed drainage holes in the bottom of the planter further ensures that soil drains properly.
1 Turn the empty barrel planter upside down so the bottom is on the top. Mark the location for your drainage holes. Four to six 1/2-inch diameter holes spaced equally apart should supply sufficient drainage without weakening the bottom of the planter.
2 Drill the holes at the marked locations. Use a 1/2-inch regular drill bit, or a 1/2-inch spade bit, which is designed to make holes.
3 Turn the barrel right side up, and set it on top of paving stones, bricks or a gravel bed. The bricks or gravel elevates the barrel slightly so moisture can drain freely from the holes. Position bricks so they don't block the holes.
4 Line the interior of the barrel with coffee filters or fine 1/4-inch wire mesh to prevent soil from falling through the holes. Fill the barrel with soil and plant as desired.