Pressurized Tanks

The ‘Tank method’ is also often called ‘Cuve Close’, ‘Charmat’ or ‘Martinotti’. It is a method in which two separate fermentations happen inside a vats (usually large stainless steel vats).

For the first fermentation, wines are typically kept at 16–18°C (61–64°F) which helps retaining fresh floral and fruity aromas and flavours.

Then, additional sugar and yeasts are added in order to proceed to a quick second fermentation that happens in pressurized tanks (also called ‘reinforced tanks’). This fermentation is usually stoped by chilling the wine to 2−4°C (36–40°F) as soon as the desired pressure (giving the desired bubbles) and residual sugar (giving the final level of sweetness) has been reached.

Sometimes, some producers keep the wine on the lees inside the tank. They can also decide to use automatic paddles to stir the lees. When the lees are stirred (click here for more details about lees stirring), it helps to maximize the contact between the lees and the wine which in turn helps to develop autolyic flavour in the wine.

However, many producers decide not to do so because they do not want expensive pressurized tanks to be tied up for too long which would reduce the economic advantages of using the ‘Tank’ method.

Finally, the wines are cold stabilized (in order to precipitate tartrates). The yeasts are removed by either centrifugation or filtration. Then, the wines are bottled and are ready to be shipped and consumed (as the ‘Tank method’ implies no need for aging wines in bottle). Therefore, even if this method implies larger investment in cellar equipment (dedicated pressurized tanks…) it also implies less need for aging wines in bottle (contrary to the ‘Traditional method’) and a faster commercilization (click here to read more about the pros and cons of the ‘Tank method’).

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