Steven Brust FAQ: What is the relationship between Orlaan and Loraan? "Damn. Wish I'd caught that similarity in names so I could have changed Orlaan's. Oh, well. Too late now." Steve on the Dragaera mailing list, 2005-08-12.
Being delivered to the underground keep in a wine barrel may be an allusion to "The Hobbit", where the protagonists escape from the clutches of an Elven King by hiding in a similar manner.