Concrete Tanks and Eggs

Interesting piece on the increased use of concrete tanks and eggs.

Interesting article, Bob. Thanks for posting the link.
I think there’s another company down in PasoRobles making concrete fermentors that was there first…
though I’m not sure they make eggs.

That would be Vino Vessel:
From their website, it looks like Steve Edmunds is still working with them as a sales rep. They don’t make eggs but they do make cylinders and cubes, as well as cones, pyramids, and hippos!

I love my Vino Vessel “Eco Barrels”! They are 70 gallon tanks that look like a barrel standing on its head.
Sonoma Cast Stone makes some nice tanks but they are expensive!

Marketing piece. some truth to it but lota bogus too.

main reason for use of concrete in the past was 1) price (low) and long lasting nature of them 2) keeping temperatures down and acting as a good insulator. when long ferments are preferred, concrete is great vessel. these vessels made tons of sense in langhe, hence their prevalence.

now a days with glycol and dry ice and other methods of controlling temperature during ferment, concrete provides no added benefit except maybe the “breathing” claim…

i like to see a third party academic study on the “breathing” aspect of the non epoxy lined concrete tanks.

the one thing that can not be ignored and needs to be acknowledged is the rough surface and more importantly shape of the egg tanks leads to more lees contact and that can be a good or bad thing depending on the style of the wine the maker is going after. the “muddy” “non focused” quality comments make a great deal of sense to me and so does “minerality”. the latter is essentially yeast flavours that can be confused as minerality. god i hate this latter term. sulphites, lees and acid can all be confused and all tagged as minerality… yet there doenst seem to be a better word or enough understanding of which is which for accurate tagging of what is being tasted…

other question i have is how the acid and alcohol in the wine over time affects the concrete and if any of it ends up in the wine. i can tell you that areas of our winery like under the pour valves of the tanks where few drops of wine drip every time you take a sample, the concrete floor has little holes in it. essentially the acid is eating away at the concrete…

i do wonder how many grams or miligrams of concrete actually ends up in the finished wine when they are fermented and or aged in concrete… its health, style, flavour and aroma implications would be interesting to study. chemist in the house?

my 2 cents

I have a few of these babies, and I do like them. Store - Flextank

You have to ask the question: is it the shape or the material? This year I’m doing Pinot blanc in them. Last year they were full of PN. Nice results.

After two vintages doing a portion of our Semillon in a Nomblot concrete egg, the only thing I’m certain of is that there is a difference in texture vs our fermentations in steel and elevage in steel / neutral barrels. I’m not sure if they actually “breathe”, but the the shape of the egg makes the fermentation appear more turbid and active. The Sem in the egg has far more solids suspended than our skin fermented tanks.

At this stage, I like it as a textural blending component and hope to grab another one in 2013.

I’m not sure I understand how the shape affects the amount of suspended solids - or that it makes that big a difference. All you have to do is look at a red wine fermentation in any traditional shaped fermenter to see that there’s enough CO2 generated to completely lift all the skins to the surface (the cap). And when we combine barrels of fermenting Chardonnay after they hit peak fermentation(since you only fill them 3/4 full so that they don’t overflow at the peak) we don’t really see any major accumulation of lees in the bottom. The wine is pretty much evenly cloudy with suspended solids.

And the idea that you might be incorporating concrete in your wine sounds kinda scary to me. But even if it is harmless, wouldn’t doing that to gain minerality be totally anti-terroir?

Brian, I think as long as it’s not heavy toast concrete it’s ok from a terroir perspective. [snort.gif]

because you’ve tried it?

I pickup less minerality from the egg than I do from steel or neutral. All I know is that the texture is different and the wine is far less clear than any other vessel.