Smart Choice Of Winemakers-Aging Wine In Stainless Steel Wine Drums


Traditionally wine was stored in oak drums, but increasingly now, it is being aged in giant stainless-steel tanks. Steel drums have become a highly economical choice for winemakers, and they can always add the distinct oak flavor by using oak chips, chunks suspended inside the tank.

With a stainless steel wine barrel winemakers get dual benefits. Firstly, they can age wines without adding oak flavor to the wine (if they are looking for twirling the flavor) and secondly, they can add oak chips to the steel barrel for the exact amount of ‘oakiness’ they desire. If a winemaker chooses to add stainless steel barrels in their wine making process, they will have the choice to experiment and create wines that were not possible before. For instance, they can make white wine while avoiding exposure to oak, and can also closely monitor the development of wine with a steel wine barrel. Winemakers can use different yeasts or grapes from different parcels. They can even blend the wines, those from oak and tank fermentation can be blended in various ratios to achieve that distinct flavor and maximizing the complexity. Now winemakers can create new styles of wines, thanks to this added flexibility.

The other benefits of a stainless steel wine barrel, apart from them being really sterile are that winemakers do not have to deal with issues like floating lid with a failure- prone gasket. Steel barrels are really easy to clean with hot water, a barrel washing head, and then for the perfect finish, sterilize them with steam. They are designed in a way to seamless fit into standard wine racks, and are quite easy to handle. Some winemakers choose to ferment wine in temperature-controlled Stainless Steel tanks, and aging on lees, without oak influence or oxidation. This technique involves greater interaction with the lees to produce wine which has richer flavors or more complexity. In the case of smaller barrels, there is a guarantee of more lees contact as compared to the larger tanks (where they sink to the bottom.)

Winemakers can use stainless steel wine barrels for fermentation, experimenting with flavors, storing wine “off-cuts” under gas and topping up barrels. These barrels can easily be used in the transportation of small volumes. Moreover winemakers can get them according to their requirements, by opting for custom sizes that can be made to order. Mostly wine barrels are made from either 304 or 316 stainless steel and are fabricated using the technology for hydro-formed products. Since they are blown into shape with hydraulic pressure, they are highly hygienic and smooth and have crevice-free surfaces. These stainless steel wine barrels are available in the capacity: 5-55 US Gallons, have the steel thickness of 0.9-1.5mm that is 20-16 gauge.

Stainless steel wine barrels have come up as an economical option for most winemakers. Oak barrels are required in large numbers for commercial wine making. Now, since oak that comes at a higher price, and also that it is used only once or twice for storage (the wood loses its flavor and also has a short lifespan), getting oak barrels becomes an expensive affair. A winemaker can buy stainless steel wine barrels once, and can use them again and again for years, making them a highly affordable option, that requires a one time investment, that ensures years of service.


Source by Howard Skolnik