Fermenting in eggs

Wine is a fashion business, and fads affect the winemaking side as much as they do the consumer.

‘Eggs’ are the latest thing in fermentation vessels. These are egg-shaped concrete tanks, which supposedly impart special characteristics to wine fermented in them.

Adelaide Hills biodynamic producer Ngeringa (tasting notes) has been doing it the longest, fermenting chardonnay and viognier in eggs, according to importer Philippe Morin.

Morin is a French-born former Sydney sommelier who operates a barrel importing business (website) in South Australia. He says Provenance (Geelong – tastings) is using the egg for shiraz, Standish/Massena (Barossa Valley tastings) is using it with grenache, and other users include Krinklewood (tastingsand Oakvale (Hunter Valley tastings) and Cullen (Margaret River tastings).

Believers say the eggs give softer wines with more intense fruit, and without the sharp edges that stainless-steel supposedly gives. The eggs are said to give a more consistent, homogeneous fermentation, without any dead-spots in the corners.

Rhone Valley winemaker Michel Chapoutier, any early adopter, is reported to be seeking compensation for others following the trend he claims to have originated.

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