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August 2011 – New Winery Equipment

With the amount of grapes increasing every year, and in turn the amount of wine produced increases, we have made a couple of purchases this year.

Inexpensive Grape Lugs

When you are lugging 20 lbs of grapes in a 5 gallon bucket around the vineyard, it is not so bad, but when you multiply that by a few dozen, trips, it begins to get a little heavy. So we purchased a water tote, cut off the top, and use it as a grape harvesting bin. Load it on the forklift, and it works great. Since the lug is capable of supporting a ton of grapes in each bin, it gives me a little room to expand. As an added bonus each tote can double as a primary fermentation tank, as it will hold up to 250 gallons in each one. We bought 2, for only 50 bucks each. If you are looking for a great way to start expanding your production, these are invaluable.

Oak Barrel Alternatives

Next, and probably the most important, we have been looking for a better solution for bulk storage than oak barrels. Our solution was flextanks. These come in various sizes, we choose to get some 80 gallon and 30 gallon tanks. The most impressive thing about these tanks, is that they breath just like a second year barrel. So you get the micro-oxignation as if it was in a real barrel, with out all the mess, and constant topping up. So far the reviews about these tanks are nothing but promising. As an added bonus, they support partial filling of the tanks, with a neoprene membrane that can be place above the wine limiting the air touching the wine, and then back filled with argon. Here is a picture.

Adding Oak to Wine – Alternatives to Oak Barrels

Once the wine is in the tanks, it is just a matter of adding just the right amount of oak. This year we have chosen a French Oak Medium+ Toast. Just suspend them from a line and let the wine soak up all of that wonderful oak flavers for several months. Just look at these staves:

 

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