Storing wine safely has been a problem for centuries. Oxygen and microbial contamination can quickly ruin wine. Many solutions have been attempted – from sealed amphora to rubber bladders. Modern wine storage practice employ mainly barrels and metal tanks, but all these devices have a critical weakness – they are rigid containers – so there is headspace.
Wine loss due to leakage, evaporation, and removal causes air to enter the container increasing the headspace, and the air in the headspace oxidizes the wine. The only remedy is to top-off the containers periodically, but this is labor intensive and introduces air into the container. It also greatly increases the risk of microbial contamination. Some techniques such floating head tanks or argon blanketing are used, but these are expensive and prone to failure.
The SmartBarrel by GOfermentor provides an effective, economical, and reliable solution for the safe storage of wine during racking, aging, and bulk. This technology was developed over years of experimentation based on Dr. Singh’s unsurpassed knowledge of flexible pharmaceutical processing. The key component of the SmartBarrel is the patented diptube. The wine is stored in single-use liners that have extremely low oxygen permeability. The contact materials have been used for bag-in-box systems for years and are known not to impart odors or other negative effects.
“With conventional barrels, there’s always evaporation and the barrel must be topped off,” notes Dr. Vijay Singh. “At Sky Acres Winery, we go from one liner to another until the bottling line, handling everything in disposable containers. There’s no water usage, no washing involved, and no wastewater generation. The liners are available instantly, whenever they’re needed, with absolute cleanliness assured.”
All operations with the SmartBarrel are done with wine pumps. The diptube is connected to the liner using a standard 2” triclamp. Wine is pumped into the liner through the fill/drain port on the diptube. As wine is removed, the liner collapses leaving no headspace. The patented design of the diptube ensures that the clean wine is drawn out first. No topping off is ever needed.
While sampling using a traditional wine thief introduces air and can cause cross-contamination, the SmartBarrel does not use a wine thief, but samples are taken using a vacuum aspirator that assures that nothing is introduced into the wine during sampling. Since the SmartBarrel liner has no headspace, partial volumes can be stored for up to 24 months. This is especially a boon to small wineries. They can start with say 50 gallons in a 60-gallon liner and dispense out wine when needed until the liner is empty.
Oak with Ease
Traditional cellar operations, such as oaking are easily performed by introducing inexpensive and environmentally sustainable oak products – chips, staves, or cubes into the SmartBarrel liners. A side -benefit of this procedure is that when the appropriate level of oaking is achieved the process can be easily terminated by simply pumping the wine out to a new liner without oak products. The chips, staves, etc. are retained in the original liner by the perforations in the diptube. This is not possible with traditional wood barrels.
SmartBarrel liners are available in 60 gallon vertical and horizontal drum formats. Any user-supplied drum/barrel can be used to hold the liner. GOfermentor even offers kits to convert old wood barrels to SmartBarrels. 330-gallon liners are provided for use in user-supplied IBC/macrobins. Liners are single-use, so there is no cleaning. A perfectly clean storage container is instantly available.
For the SmartBarrel system you need:
- One reusable SmartBarrel diptube for each storage container.
- One cordless SmartBarrel aspirator/sampler for your entire facility.
- Single-use SmartBarrel liners.