Oak vs Stainless Steel: Which Container Makes Better Wine?

In the world of wine brewing equipment, stainless steel tanks and containers are probably the most popular, thanks to their easiness to maintain and clean, and controlling fermentation. They also last a long time, therefore, are very economical in the long-term. You will find them in almost every winery in the world.

A bit of history:

This was not always the case, the oldest way to make wine was from clay containers. The Ancient Greeks used clay amphoras for fermenting, aging, and transporting wine until the Romans replaced them with wooden barrels in the first century AD.

Oak barrels were used widely until the early 1960s when Émile Peynaud, who is considered the father of modern oenology, advocated for the use of stainless steel tanks in winemaking. In 1961, the famous Bordeaux producer Chateau Haut Brion was one of the first wineries in the world to install stainless steel tanks. It did not take long for most other wineries to follow that example and nowadays, stainless steel tanks and containers can be found in pretty much every vineyard around the world.

So why did stainless steel become the most popular tank in winemaking?

The advantages of stainless steel tanks are numerous.

Easy to maintain and clean.

Stainless steel is very low maintenance: it is rust-resistant, non-toxic, and free of zinc or lead. It is also easier to keep clean than wooden barrels. This ensures a very low risk of contamination of the wine.

Lasts a long time.

Properly maintained, stainless steel containers will last almost indefinitely.

Easy to keep at the right temperature.

Stainless steel tanks allow the winemaker to perfectly control the temperature during brewing. The tanks are built with a chamber surrounding the tank that holds coolant and with controls on the tank that allow the winemaker to maintain a certain temperature.

Neutral and versatile.

Stainless steel is a neutral material and does not allow for oxygen exchange like an oak barrel. This helps retain the fresh fruit aromas and flavours in wine so they are good choices if the goal is to produce a fruit-driven and fresh style of wine to be consumed, generally, within a few years of production.

Stainless is also versatile: it can be used for any step of the winemaking process: fermenting, blending, aging, short-term holding, bottling, and long-term storage.

Can be customed to your needs.

The tanks can be custom-made to your winery specifications, so you can get the exact sizes you need for your different vintages and for your budget. They can also be designed for a single purpose or multipurpose. They can have attachments for racking the wine into other containers.

So Oak vs. Stainless Steel?

But oak adds flavours and changes the tannins structure of wines and the customers are usually looking for that characteristics when they choose a bottle. True! But you can mimic this with stainless steel tanks – and most wineries do exactly that – you can add oak staves, chips, and dust in the tanks and even mimic the porosity of the wood barrels with micro-oxygenation. Best of both worlds in a controlled environment!

Thanks to the great control you gain over the winemaking process with stainless steel tanks, you can focus on making great wine!

If you are looking for stainless steel tanks for your winery, contact us and get a free quote. Tell us what you need, we will design a plan to get you precisely what your project requires.

7 Factors You Need to Consider When Choosing a Stainless Steel Blender

A variety of industrial and commercial blenders and mixers are available on the market. So, it is important to select the right equipment for the application and industry in which it will be used. This article reviews the 7 most important factors to consider when choosing an industrial stainless steel blender for your company.

The different type of blenders and mixers:

In most manufacturing processes, mixing of materials is a very common step, and hence industrial blenders or mixers are used. These materials may be in any state (liquid, solid, viscous) and on different consistencies (coarse powder, abrasive, granules, sticky). These materials should be blended as required. At Ability Fabricators Inc., we produce various types of industrial blenders: V-blender, double cone blender, IBC bin blender, and ribbon blender. So, what factors should you consider when buying an industrial stainless steel blender?

The 7 most important factors to consider when choosing a stainless steel blender:

  • Precision of blending

In most industries, the blending homogeneity is of high importance for the quality of the product.

  • Effortless charging and discharging of materials

The safety and easiness of charging and discharging are important to reduce the risk of spill and contamination. The risk of material segregation while discharging should also be considered.

  • Batch size

Do you need to blend a variety of products with different recipes and various ingredients? Or do you manufacture one recipe in a large volume with not many changes?

  • Ingredients characteristics

Will you mix free-flowing powders with similar ingredient particle sizes or cohesive, sticky powders with different particle sizes?

  • Easy to clean

The cleaning of the blender can lead to a few hours of downtime. So, choosing the right mixer for your need can maximize your operation time.

  • Little maintenance and repair

The role of thumb is the fewer moving parts, the less maintenance and repair downtime.

  • Minimal chances of contamination

Look for a blender that is easy to charge, discharge, disassemble, and clean. It decreases the risk of contamination and saves you time.

Selecting the Right Blender:

The V-Blender is used to create a homogeneous mixture between solid granules and powders. It is suitable for use with fragile materials but less suitable for mixing particles of different densities and sizes. The blender’s conical shape enables it to produce a uniform mixture that can easily be discharged through the butterfly valve. It is also easy to clean.

The double cone blender also ensures an efficient homogeneous mix of granules and powders. It blends efficiently with no material accumulation. The shape of the blender offers easy discharge. It is very popular within the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

The IBC Bin Blender has a fast blend time and does not require lengthy clean-up due to the fact that the product does not come into contact with the blender. Cross-contamination is also eliminated. This makes it cost and time effective for companies manufacturing multiple product lines.

The ribbon blender is very efficient at mixing so you can reach a good consistency in your final product. It is often less expensive than a double-cone blender of comparable capacity. But it requires more time for cleaning so is not a good solution for working with sticky or tacky mixtures. It is commonly used in the food industry.

At Ability Fabricators Inc., we can customize some of the features of those blenders to make them more beneficial to you. We manufacture the best stainless steel blenders on the North American market. We will help you choose the right blender for your material, space, and budget. For a full list of our products, please visit our catalog, contact us to discuss your needs, or request a free quote.