Friday, 7 September 2012
Have you heard of wine made in a ceramic egg shaped containers?
The large ceramic egg container is perhaps the largest living vessel in the world and is designed specifically for wine fermentation. The egg shape naturally encourages liquids to move in the lemniscate, or figure of eight, promoting continuous passive convection within, allowing developing wine to move and breathe inside, without stirring. Please view the video explaining the process in more detail.
The Romans were using basically this shape of vessel to ferment wine more than 2,000 years ago. A dolium (plural: dolia) is a large earthenware vase or container used in ancient Roman times for storage or transportation of goods.
A handful of winegrowers are currently using egg shaped clay vats in view of adding complexity to their unoaked wines. If these vintners express different schools of thought on the best techniques to associate with this sort of container, they all share the same objective, that of preserving the true characteristics of their wines.
Organic and biodynamic growers make a point of exploring the best ways to elaborate wine as naturally as possible. A vineyard in
Southeast France came up with the idea in 1991, of creating a museum with a vineyard and cellar, producing wine according to ancient methods. This initiative has since stirred the imagination of some modern-day vintners, interested in finding out if terracotta oval casks can be a viable substitute for concrete, stainless steel or oak vats.
One of our local organic wineries in the upper Hemel en Aarde wine area has started experimenting with this idea. The wine is not for sale, but we will keep you updated on the topic.