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Saturday 31 December 2022

Winemakers turning to glass rather than oak

Winemakers who are keen on preserving terroir and producing wines full of freshness and purity have a new tool at their disposal: glass wine tanks.

Time to forget oak barrels, farewell to concrete tanks and eggs, goodbye to stainless steel, au revoir to clay amphoras, perhaps? 

Maybe not immediately, but "glass allows [winemakers] to protect all the elements in the grape that will create the beauty of a great wine," say manufacturers Wineglobe.

Glass, typically a vessel of choice for home winemakers, is popping up in some of the most experimental and progressive cellars in the world - and even in Bordeaux and Burgundy, France 24 reports.

“Burgundian winemakers noticed that at the end of wine’s batch, the ones they kept in small glass vats, had an exceptional expression, precision, freshness,” says Marie Paetzold, a managing partner at Wineglobe, which started in 2014.

Paetzold says that glass helps the wine tell its story.

“In the Wineglobe, wine tells everything about its terroir, varietal characteristics and the work involved,” she says. “The absolute neutrallness of our glass-made vessel enables full expression of the grapes without any incidence or mask.

"Every single Wineglobe user has commented on the precision, the purity and the clearness. The objective, ultimately, is to create expressive wines with great aging potential.”

Fermentation and aging procedures, Paetzold says, are up to the winemaker.

“Fermentations take place classically, as in any other vessel,” she says.

“The aging process depends on the winemaker’s objectives and technical itinerary, of course."

Renowned French winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, says wines matured in glass evolve "closer to the original qualities of the grape". Derenoncourt works as a consultant for leading estates across France and the US.

Advantages of glass containers - like the demijohns used in Burgundy in the past - apparently include hygiene, a reduction in the use of sulphur dioxide and the fact that they are usable for generations.

The downside: they are more expensive to buy at €4,000 against €1,000 for an oak barrel of similar size.

Wineglobes are available in sizes varying from 25 litres to 400 litres and the company says it has 500 customers around the world, many no doubt experimenting with a vessel or two 


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting topic. I was once engaged in buying assignments and this topic came into my hands. It was very interesting to read about the reasons.