Exploring the Alluring Attributes of Various Wine Fermenter Types

Exploring the Alluring Attributes of Various Wine Fermenter Types


Glass Carboys and Demijohns

Simple and inexpensive.

Suitable for small batches of white or rosé wine.

Great for beginner winemakers.

Plastic Buckets and Bins

Versatile and inexpensive.

Open top for red wine punch down.

Great for beginner winemakers.

Wood Barrels

Strongly affects the flavor of grape juice stored inside.

Great for aging and malolactic fermentation.

Used for fermenting Chardonnay and similar grape varieties.

Difficult to maintain and expensive.

Not suitable for red wine fermentation.

Stainless Steel Tanks

Very versatile; can be used for fermentation, aging, and storage.

Chemically inert, flavorless, and odorless (best representation of the fruit).

Offers a high level of temperature control (glycol jacket, insulation).

Very easy to maintain and sanitize.

Extremely durable.

Cost-effective (low cost per gallon and keeps resale value for decades).

Great choice for both red and white wine fermentation.

ACE stainless steel fermentation tanks

Wood Tanks

Similar characteristics to a wood barrel (oxygenation, character, concentration), but has a larger surface area.

Also difficult to maintain.

More economical than oak barrels.

Can be used for either red or white wine fermentation, but not both (color carry-over due to pigment retention).

Concrete Tanks

Can be cast into almost any shape imaginable.

Acts as a temperature stabilizer (cool during hot days, and warm during cold nights).

Provides micro-oxygenation and concentration.

Have to be cleaned regularly.

Can last for decades before cracking.


Good option for experienced winemakers.

Clay Pots

Oldest wine fermenter type (used for over 8000 years).

Great insulation (low-temperature fermentations).

Naturally stable.

Provides micro-oxygenation and concentration.

Difficult to procure.

Labor-intensive wine production.

Small volume.

Hard to sanitize (can crack under hot water).

Recommended for organic and natural winemakers.

There are a couple of major points to consider before choosing a wine fermenter. The most important one is the type of wine you’ll be making – white, red, or rosé. This will guide you towards open-top fermenters for red wine or closed-top (sealed) fermenters for white wine and rosé.

Another consideration is how much of the grape character and aroma you want to preserve. If you want to maintain the fruity flavor, you should opt for inert fermenters.


As with every decision in the winemaking process, picking the right fermenter is not an easy choice.

While there are plenty of fermentation vessels to choose from, there is no single best option. Each of these wine fermenter types has its advantages and disadvantages. You will have to find your own balance of versatility, durability, and fermentation control.

In the end, the decision comes down to the wine flavors you wish to emphasize.

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