Oak is the traditional material for wine barrels. However, it is not the only option for aging tanks in Eugene, OR. Stainless steel works well for some varieties of wine, especially white wine. Here are six reasons to consider stainless steel tanks for your winery:
- Capture flavors: Oak barrels work best with fuller wines, like pinot noir and other red wines. It often overpowers the flavors of lighter white wines. Many winemakers learn that fermenting their white varieties in stainless steel captures the fruit flavors better. White wines age out with lighter, crisper flavors.
- Temperature control: Stainless steel heats up and cools down very rapidly. This allows extraction to happen more quickly, as well. Average fermentation in steel lasts 15 to 17 days. Concrete tanks, which are a more common option, extend fermentation from 24 to 27 days. Wine flavor and aroma is richer with the shorter fermentation in steel tanks. Steel also works well with preserving required temperatures. The optimal temperature ranges from 45 to 65 degrees, and steel proves effective at maintaining that range.
- Durability: There is a reason you see planters made from oak barrels for sale at nurseries or roadside attractions. Eventually, they decompose and start depositing debris into the wine. This leaves wine vulnerable to temperature stress, humidity and other adverse conditions. Steel proves impenetrable to all these elements. Also, steel is easy to clean, which further reduces the wear and tear factors. The tanks and barrels hold up well, and often offer a strong resale value if you decide to replace them.
- Easier winemaking process: There is less barrel movement when you use stainless steel. When oak is the preferred material for aging tanks, you have to move the wine into different containers as it reaches new stages in the fermentation process. With stainless steel barrels, you can complete all stages without moving the wine. This makes winemaking more efficient, and you do not have to buy as many barrels to run your operation.
- Design options: Stainless steel tanks are available in a variety of sizes and designs. Variable volume tanks contain lids that can be set at any level so you can accommodate different levels of wine. The lid and bladder move down the tank to ensure an airtight fit that prevents contamination. Sealed tanks are fixed volume tanks and must be filled completely. They are a great option if your volume levels are consistent. There are also flat or conical tanks. That choice depends on whether you wish to ensure you rack all the wine out of the storage tank.
- Add-on options: Technology comes standard with stainless steel tanks. You can purchase tanks with a variety of add-ons, including thermometers, cooling jackets, leveling feet, sight gauges, pump-over systems and fermentation manways. This allows you to customize your winemaking experience and reduces the need for extra equipment.
American Refrigeration Inc. offers winery chillers for your aging tanks in the Eugene, OR area. Contact us today to see what equipment you need for your winery or distillery.