Half a tank?

June 19th, 2018

When you start cutting your tanks in half it’s never just for a bit of routine maintenance – it’s usually much more significant than that. Indeed, the last time we did this was following a catastrophe in 2008 when half of our tanks were accidentally crushed by a powerful vacuum (whilst testing the tank cooling jackets).

Today’s ‘vandalism’ has actually been triggered by choice, albeit once again related to the cooling jackets. This time we are adding more cooling to the tanks to give us greater control and more flexibility during harvest. Logistically it’s quite an undertaking, and to be honest there’s no really good time of year to carry out this work. Having just completed the racking, then obviously we were able to relocate the new wines away from the work area, but even so, tank space is always at a premium (because of our extended lees ageing).

The only option is to do this work, step by step, and when time allows. For example, today we will be cutting and removing just four tanks.

Obviously my short video shows the cutting process, but the one thing that a video cannot highlight is the smell! Cutting metal generates, well, a burning metal smell, and so we have to make sure that everything is completely locked down to isolate this as much as possible. We are actually using our powerful extraction system (used during harvest to remove the CO2), to keep the air as fresh as possible.

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