faqs and benefits.
Flextank maturation vessels PREVENT flavor and aroma molecules from leaving the wine. These most delicate of wine components (i.e. the fruity ethyl esters and aroma compounds) are largely lost to the atmosphere when wine is matured in oak barrels. The quite heady "wine/wood" aroma in typical cellars signals that loss of wine aromatics, which leave the wine continuously.
There is no aroma associated with use of Flextank maturation vessels, thus users over multiple vintages report SUPERIOR matured wine quality over top quality French barrels and many have the prizes & trophies to prove it!
Very Substantial Economic Advantages!
These vessels pay for themselves very quickly:
- no "aging out", indefinite usable lifetime
- much higher cellar storage density
- no loss of valuable wine volume by evaporation
- almost complete elimination of barrel room labor
- greatly reduced cost of wood (8-12 cents per liter for oak adjunct products compared with 30-90c per liter for wood in the form of barrels assuming a barrel cost of $350 - 1000 per barrel amortized over 5 years)
- much more consistent performance, vessel to vessel, year by year
Given that wine quality is being proven over time to be SUPERIOR to the same wine matured in barrels, your purchase decision is self-evident!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long have Flextanks been in use?
Flextank’s oxygen permeable maturation vessels have been manufactured and sold in the USA since September 2006.
Who owns and controls Flextank USA?
Flextank USA is 100% American owned. It is a family business owned by John and Jan Smeaton. John holds an Honors degree in Agricultural Science and a PhD in Biochemistry. Jan’s family were pioneer grape growers and winemakers in the Southern Australian Coonawarra region from 1892. They established a family vineyard in 1995 and daughter Nikki became the 5th generation of the family to be involved in wine when she assisted with the hard labor of vineyard establishment and subsequently worked a vintage in Bordeaux.
Where do you make Flextank USA products?
Our policy is to manufacture in North America whenever possible and we seek out quality, cost effective vendors across the USA. We have component vendors in New York, Illinois, South Carolina, Minnesota, Indiana, Texas, Colorado, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Georgia. Tank bodies are molded in WA and final assembly and testing occurs there. Pricing is FOB Vancouver, WA 98682.
Will Flextanks taint my wine?
Modern catalyst technology has produced food grade polyolefins that are extremely stable polymers. Polyethylenes from this group are widely used in the food and beverage industry in manufacturing processes, transport and storage. Flextank products are made from carefully selected quality materials and there have been no complaints of taint following their use in thousands of wineries (and the total grows by the day) around the world. Flextank matured/fermented wines continue to win Gold at prominent wine shows.
Can I use Flextanks for white wine?
Originally designed for red wine maturation Flextanks are seeing increasing service for white wine production. Winemakers have used both the regular maturation weight vessels and “heavyweight” vessels for white wines. The heavyweight vessels are just that-heavier vessels with thicker walls. Oxygen permeation rates are about half that of the maturation vessels and are comparable to “neutral” barrels. We have tasted an excellent Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma’s Homewood Winery and a “Top 20 Oregon Drop” rated Pinot Blanc from Biggio-Hamina Cellars that used Flextanks. Flextanks are an excellent vessel for the subtle addition of oak flavors under full winemaker control using quality adjunct products.
How are Flextanks made?
The tank bodies are made by rotational molding. There are several websites devoted to explaining this process in some detail. In brief, powdered resin is loaded into a steel or aluminum mold that is then rotated on two axes as it is heated in an oven. The resin melts and coats the inside of the mold during the cooking cycle. After removal from the oven rotation is continued while the mold cools and the resin solidifies. Some shrinkage occurs on cooling that facilitates removal of the finished tank from the mold. Detail finishing and addition of accessory parts such as valve flanges completes the unit.
How does oxygen get into the wine?
The tank itself is permeable to oxygen. The actual permeability required is engineered by attention to resin selection and blend, surface area to volume ratio and wall thickness. The maturation range of Flextanks is designed to have a similar oxygen permeation rate to the typical second year wine barrel when used at a nominal cellar temperature of 55F. Oxygen is driven across the tank wall by the partial pressure differential between the wine and the atmosphere. Upon permeating into the wine the oxygen is used up by the complex chemical changes that occur during maturation.
Are Flextanks Recyclable?
The short answer is “Yes”. Flextank seeks to keep its environmental impact as small as possible. All the food grade polyethylene we use is virgin material and at the end of its long service life is fully recyclable. All metal parts are also recyclable. Flextanks also clean very easily and require much less water for effective cleaning than similar capacity vessels made from wood or stainless steel.
What are your shipping policies?
Shipping costs are a major problem for all businesses and customers in the era of the unstable oil price. Our products are drop shipped from Vancouver, WA. The freight consolidator CH Robinson www.chrobinson.com handles most of our shipments. Clients are welcome to arrange their own shipping. The most economical way to transport goods is in full truck loads. Customers who are within close geographical proximity can group together and share a load trucked to a single destination within their region. The savings can be significant. For information, click here.
My tank arrived with a hole in it/gravel rash/looking like it was dragged behind the truck etc. What can I do?
All our shipments are boxed or framed for full protection. However, before accepting a shipment, inspect it carefully for shipping damage. While most truckers are careful accidents do happen and products can be damaged in transit-even a tough item like a Flextank. If there is damage, be sure to note it on the delivery document you sign and make a claim with the trucking company. In the case of extreme damage refuse to accept the shipment on the grounds of the damage. If damage is not noted at time of delivery it is extremely difficult to succeed with a later claim. Unfortunately Flextank cannot be responsible for transit damage inflicted by third parties.