- Flextank Testimonials
Toulouse Vineyards - Anderson Valley, CA
In 2013 the harvest at Toulouse Vineyards was a good one. We were about 20% over our normal yield of 2.5 to 3 tons per acre. Coupled with that, we were short on barrels and storage. Being cheap and desperate for storage we purchased 6 Flextank Apollo ‘Eggs’ to help store our 2013 Vintage of pinot noir until we could free up our 2012 barrels. That gave us a total of 1380 gallons of storage for the six ‘Eggs’ at a cost effective price. We were surprised how easy they were to work with and handle. Up to this point in processing and settling wines we mainly used our 550 gallon Stainless tanks. In many cases they were too large for small lots. We also wanted to try aging in the ‘Egg’ with Tank staves.
During the 2014 harvest we used our 6 eggs to settle fresh pressed wines and again to store small lots prior to bottling our 2013 vintage. Fermentation use was discussed and we decided to try 2 egg fermentations with 100% destemmed pinot noir fruit. We found the finished wine to have great color, fruit, aromatics and tannin structure. We were very pleased with the results.
Being deep thinkers and tinkerers, we decided to purchase 12 more eggs for the 2015 harvest. During the harvest we did several traditional fermentations, some with 50% whole cluster, some with 100% destemmed fruit, and some with carbonic macerations.
For the carbonic macerations, we filled the eggs approximately 2/3’s full with 100% whole cluster fruit, and purged all the air out of the egg with CO2. We then parked the egg for around 14 days until the fermentation was near completion. The ‘Egg’ was then pressed off and returned to another ‘egg’ to allow the lot to finish fermentation and settle before going to barrel. The resulting wine had great aromatics and was nothing like anything we had tasted before. Our experiment worked great and was very educational.
In our traditional egg fermentations, the results were also very good and closer to normal fermentation expectations, but with increased color, fruit and structure. These fermentations were mixed twice a day during the fermentation by punching the caps down. The factory does not recommend spinning the egg.
With the Flextank lugs and lifting system, the eggs are a breeze to empty. We used our barrel turning bars as levers by welding ¾” square pegs onto the bars which fit into the female ¾” square hole on the lifting lugs. (See picture.)
I would recommend purchasing the eggs with the lifting lugs, pallet, sample valve, and the two 1 ½” valves and flanges on the tank. The thermometer is a nice extra too, but we ended up not using it for harvest. We plan to do many more egg fermented wines and carbonic macerations. The goal is to do at least half of our total next year fermented in the eggs and we will continue to use the eggs to settle small lots and during filtration and bottling.
The eggs are also easy to store when not in use. We stack the eggs two high on 4x8’ sheets of plywood after removing the lids from the tanks. This way we can conveniently stack 4 eggs in the space of two.
On an esthetic level, when we give tours of our winery facility, these ‘Eggs’ are a topic of discussion amongst our visitors. The winery’s mascot is a Toulouse Goose. How fitting to have our wines fermented in these amazing goose eggs.
The Apollo egg has earned a spot in our winery, they are fun and easy to use, and the results have been excellent.
Cheers, Vern, Brad, and Rita, The Toulouse Winemaking Team
PROS: Easy to Handle, Easy to Clean, Easy to Move, Stores Small Lots Efficiently, Settles Lees and Ages Small Lots, No faulty Sensory Impact, Light Weight, Cost Effective, Less Headspace and Oxidation Potential, Looks like a Goose Egg befitting our Toulouse Goose Winery
Salisbury Vineyards, Santa Barbara County, California
“We love these tanks. We get the micro oxygenation passively and we have no topping off issues. We get great fruit retention and as we pay for floor space in the winemaking facility by the square foot, the pallet tanks have dramatically reduced our rent costs.”
Harold Osborne, Winemaker
Solune Winery, Grass Valley, California
“We were a little nervous at first, but the customers like our wines so much and consider our winery progressive by our adaptation of new technology.”
Jacques Mercier, International Wine Judge, Co-owner & Winemaker,
Springhouse Cellars, Hood River, Oregon
“Our labour costs have been greatly reduced, along with the physical demands, while retaining the continued benefit of micro oxygenation… Everything is easier.”
James Mathieson, Owner & Winemaker
Tamanend Winery, Lancaster PA
Richard received his Ph.D in Plant Physiology in 1973 from the University of California, Riverside. After a stint in academia he bought a winery in California that he sold in the early 80’s. Subsequently he started Vitis Research, Inc. a consulting company to wineries and wine industry suppliers. He has helped wineries with many issues with respect to growing and making world class wines. Ultimately in 2002 he started his own winery brand Tamanend Winery and as an Alternate Premises winery facility he produces wines for himself and up to eight other wineries.
Richard Carey, PhD
Download his reprint “Advances in Premium Wine Storage and Maturation” from the July 2015 issue of CRUSH Magazine