Concrete vs. Stainless Steel vs. Puncheon Barrel: A Wine Trial

Humans have been making and drinking wine for centuries and the wine business wouldn’t have gotten where it is today if not for regular experimentation. We’ve written on the different style and material tanks used for wine fermentation before, often extolling the benefits of our trusty stainless steel wine barrels, but we never tire of the innovation and exploration of winemakers. The like minded folks at Wine Business Monthly invite winemakers to experiment and publish their trials in a monthly feature called ‘The Winemaker Trial’. One such trial, back in 2019, was on the fermentation results between concrete tanks, stainless steel drums and your classic puncheon barrel.

Winemaker Ana Diogo-Draper from Artesa  Vineyard & Winery set out to compare a Chardonnay fermented in her winery’s new 236 gallon square concrete tanks against the same Chardonnay fermented in a stainless steel wine drum and a once-used puncheon barrel. Her goal wasn’t to pit these fermentation vessels against each other to find which reigned supreme, but merely to explore the unique characteristics each vessel imparted on the final product and thus create the best blend to showcase that particular fruit.

Diogo-Draper and her team at Artesa took an incredibly scientific approach to the trial, and the exploration was fascinating. A description of the trial, parameters and a conversation exploring the results is available to peruse on Wine Business Monthly’s website – we recommend giving it a read. It’s fascinating and full of a love for wine.

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