DRINK UP the Valley: Latest Okanagan Wine News

There are a lot of NEW releases and NEW wines in the Okanagan this spring. But nothing as NEWsworthy as the announcement of Okanagan Crush Pad’s newest arrival.

What is the ultimate symbolism of NEW? The egg.

New beginnings, birth of a new era, a new living thing. Summerland’s Okanagan Crush Pad Winery is the first and only winery in Canada to use egg-shaped temperature-controlled concrete tanks for winemaking. They’ve ordered 6 of these concrete fermenters after much study, and on the trusted advice of renowned winemaker Alberto Antonini. Okanagan Crush Pad’s consulting winemaker, Antonini has a history of working with concrete in Europe, where the practice of fermenting wine in oval shaped amphora goes back to the beginning of winemaking history. Of course, concrete too has been used for centuries in winemaking, but these egg-shaped tanks from Sonoma Cast Stone take a very forward- thinking approach using modern features such as wall-embedded temperature-control tubing. There is also an impact on the flavour development of wine when concrete is used. Like oak vessels, concrete is slightly porous, allowing the wine to breathe as it would in oak. However, unlike oak, the eggs leave no oaky flavour as they gently diffuse oxygen. Concrete is considered neutral, like stainless steel, and imparts no flavours of its own. The concrete tanks are unlined and they allow a measured but lasting flow of oxygen into the tank throughout fermentation and aging. The tank’s egg shape means more of the cap (skins and pulp floating on top of the juice in red-wine fermentation) stays submerged. According to Sonoma Cast Stone, this lengthier contact of the skins and pulp with the juice means wines come out brighter with higher fruit notes and prettier secondary aromas that you don’t tend to find in wines fermented in stainless steel.

Okanagan Crush Pad has been designed to facilitate production of multiple small lots of wine from many different sources. Head winemaker Michael Bartier will assist and advise on the vinification. It is also home to Haywire wines (owned by Crush Pad owner Christine Coletta) and the newly launched Bartier Scholefield wines (a joint project of Michael Bartier and David Scholefield).




Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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