For those of you who think I'm completely obsessed with winemaking, well, you're right! And to prove it, I'd like to introduce you to my latest winemaking toys. I call them Bertha and Greta, and they are two of the loveliest 80-gallon (290-liter) stainless steel variable capacity tanks. Bertha is on the right and Greta is on the left in the picture.
I ran into a fellow winemaker & wine distributor a couple of weeks ago while he was pouring wine one Saturday afternoon at a local wine store. He's in the process of starting a licensed/bonded winery in his basement and was needing to increase his capacity. So he was looking to unload his used 80-gallons tanks and buy some larger ones before the Chilean grapes arrive next month. I had some tax refund money burning a hole in my pocket and had been thinking about upgrading from carboys to tanks, so I went out and took a look at them. I wasn't originally thinking of 80-gal tanks (more like 30-40 gal), but decided that this would be a relatively cheap investment for the future. These tanks would give me the option to ferment enough wine to fill a full-size oak barrel and the ability to do an extended maceration without much fear of oxidation. Plus, they are large enough to be of use for fermenting smaller batches when I make the jump to commercial production. I may not want to make several hundred gallons of a particular varietal if I intend to use it as a blending wine. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
As you can see, Bertha and Greta are lovingly ensconced in a cubbyhole nook in my basement, awaiting their first vintage at Aaronap Cellars!