How to Purchase Wine Tanks

A guide to purchasing the best wine tank for your winery business.

By Kinnek Community  |  September 23, 2016

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We’ve summarized some key questions to consider for your business when purchasing wine tanks. Use these as a reference whether you’re a first-time winemaker or looking to establish a new production line.

Hood-EIC wine tanksWhat are wine tanks?

Wine tanks are vessels designed for a particular processes in wine production including: fermentation, blending, aging, storage or packaging of wine. The right type, size, shape and kind of tank material typically tends to depend on your production space, style, technique and personal preference. Choosing the right vessels will make your time spent in the winery more enjoyable,” says Winemaker Magazine. Whether you’re making the move from home winemaking (100-200 gallons per year legal limit depending on household size) to commercial winemaking or just fine-tuning your production facility, proper equipment is essential to making a successful product.

Do I need specialized tanks?

Much of the winemaking process can be accomplished using modular or general purpose tanks that are easily adaptable with fittings and accessories. However, certain processes such as red wine fermentation are better served by specialized tanks. Red wine fermentation tanks are typically wider vessels with open tops or removable lightweight covers. These accessible tanks provide easy access for circulating and hydrating the skin cap. On the other side of the aisle, white or rosé fermentation needs are simpler and can easily be completed with general purpose tanks. One rule of thumb to remember though, if you’re looking to blend wine, your tank size must be at least as large as the biggest vessel in the winery and will ideally be fitted with a mechanical mixer, though this will depend on blending technique and total capacity.

Do I need variable capacity options?

Tank capacities can range from 220 to 25,000 liters and can be used for a variety of purposes. Many general purpose tanks can be customized to alter the internal dimensions. This concept is particularly useful for different lot sizes and is frequently used by wineries producing both large flagship products as well as limited specialty brands. Some tanks use “floating” internal lids that can be moved within the tank. The lid is then sealed by inflatable tubes, which reduces unnecessary headspace in the tank.

I have space constraints. Can I find movable or portable equipment?

The good news is there are many portable tank options available.These types of tank are common in small or urban wineries. They’re typically moved by forklifts or pallet jacks around warehouse properties and can be stacked when not in use to allow for events, packaging, or easy cleaning. Shorter, box-like red wine fermentation vessels typically tend to be the most convenient portable tanks.

What range of options do I have when it comes to production and aging my wine?

The two most common materials for both fermentation and general purpose tanks are stainless steel and plastic, however traditional wood varieties are also an option.

Aevos Equipment plastic tankProduction

  • Stainless steel is highly durable and the ideal choice for long-term use.
  • Plastic tanks are often more affordable and lightweight, making them ideal choices for smaller-scale producers. Plastics can be easily scratched however if not treated with care, which increases the potential for microbiological contamination. HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic tanks are the best option currently on the market and come in a wide range of sizes.


  • If you’re looking to age your wine using traditional techniques then wood barrels are the way to go.
  • 50 to 570 gallon plastic aging vessels also present a contemporary alternative to wood barrels. These provide an opportunity for blending oaked and unoaked aged wines without the need for wooden containers. Some plastic vessels are manufactured to allow for oxygen transfer that’s comparable to a wooden barrel. Most plastic aging tanks can also be stacked or fit more tightly than wood barrels, making them good choices for small spaces.
  • Concrete aging vessels are currently a popular option. Concrete allows for more oxygen transfer during aging and is able to maintain a cooler, more stable temperature over time. However like wood, unclad concrete’s porous surface can be difficult to sanitize, which increases the risk of wild yeast or bacterial contamination. Clad concrete tanks can help mitigate sanitation problems in this instance.

The Barrel Broker wine stavesI’m not using wood barrels. Is there another way to impart oak flavors into my wine?

The Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute encourages especially smaller winemakers to use oak staves or chips as an alternative to large oak barrels. These chips come in many varieties and can easily be added to plastic or steel containers and removed when desired.

What do I need to know about temperature control?

According to South Africa’s WineLand Magazine, temperature control is critical to maintaining thermal characteristics close to that of wood or concrete, regardless of how you choose to store or age your wine.

The optimal temperature is often up for debate, however it’s important to create a controlled environment for your wine so the temperature is under your, not the surrounding environment’s, control. So what are the options?


  • Warehouses provide a sealed environment and often stay cool enough to ferment wine at the required pace. However not every business has the option of storing their products that way. Some form of additional control is usually desirable. That’s where temperature control comes in:
  • Glycol jackets provide an easy way to control wine temperature. Jackets can be added to tanks where not existing already.


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