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Concrete wine tanks growing in popularity

on 28/12/12 at 12:16 pm


imagesFor centuries, European vintners used monstrous concrete tanks to ferment and store their wines, a technique used in California’s oldest wineries before Prohibition.

Now, concrete is making a comeback. North Coast wineries are trying an old technique in a new way, installing small, portly concrete tanks that look like creatures from another world.

In Sonoma County, it all started when Don Van Staaveren, winemaker at Three Sticks Wines, pitched the idea of making concrete wine tanks to his neighbor, Steve Rosenblatt, the president of Sonoma Cast Stone. Rosenblatt was already making unusual countertops, sinks and walls, and with a small vineyard of his own, he had an interest in winemaking.

“In the early history of winemaking, concrete tanks were very prevalent, and there were some really outstanding wines made in concrete tanks,” Van Staaveren said. “So I thought, well, there’s no reason why we can’t do it again.”