(Quebec) The next time you will procure a bottle of Californian wine producer Rodney Strong at the Société des alcools du Québec, it may well be that the divine nectar has aged in a tank made Quebec.
The company SML Stainless Steel Group – formerly known as Sani-Metal – already designs and manufactures custom stainless steel kitchens for the most famous chefs in the world.
The Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, Grant Achatz and Curtis Duffy, among others, the immediate reflex to knock on the door of the family business in Quebec
175 employees when planning to open a new upscale restaurant. Their work area must be of the same caliber.
In recent years, SML offers a range of wine tanks. Stainless steel, of course.
Unlike its tanks are not cylindrical, as seen in most cellars, but cubic or rectangular.
A simple detail, you say?
“You are mistaken!” Corrects Jostran Lamontagne, director of La Garde, the unit’s business SML specializes in the manufacture of these tanks assembled by hand that are suitable for fermentation, racking, aging, assembly and wine bottling.
“They allow vineyards to produce a wine of great quality that brings out the flavors of their terroir. A wine that certainly does not taste like any other. ”
The optimization of the fermentation is one of the benefits of a cubic or rectangular tank winemaking La Garde, says Lamontagne.
It promotes, among other things, the contact between the grape skins and the liquid portion. Between the marc and the must.
“The square surface of the pomace of La Garde tanks compared with round hats cylindrical tanks of identical width, increases by at least 25% of the area of contact between the pulp and skin of grapes and their juice,” argues SML.
“At the same volume, a pomace occupying a larger area will necessarily be thinner. Thus, it is easier to dip, reassembly is more effective and cooling the contents of the vessel is made easier. This allows growers to save time, be more delicate with fruit and reduce the number of interventions. ”
Their shape gives them another advantage, especially in the cellars where space is restricted.
“Because they contain more liquid than cylindrical tanks height and width comparable, our tanks can produce a greater volume of wine in the same space. It can go up to 40%, “suggests Jostran Lamontagne.
The latter also claims that La Garde tanks are … beautiful!
“Aesthetics are important. They are polished by hand. Do not look! No welding is apparent. Nor outside or inside. ”
They are also easier to clean. This avoids the proliferation of bacteria.
Easier scouring, they also allow producers to use less water to make them shine. Water savings of up to 90%.
“Let’s say that in California, where water is scarce, we have a good selling point,” says Lamontagne Jostran, noting that California growers were virtually demanding that the tanks are filled with water when they delivery so they lack it.
California, then Europe
It is precisely in California as La Garde concentrates its marketing efforts these days. In 2016, it will be the turn of Europe. A representative is already in place to prepare the return of La Garde in Europe.
Jostran Lamontagne just moved to St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley, there or the Mondavi brothers built their wine empire.
“Here, you make the grocery store and you realize that almost everyone around you is a winemaker!”
California is a big playground for The Guard. More than 2,000 vineyards include it. There is no lack, either, in both states further north or Oregon (300) and Washington (500).
The Quebec company initially sought to turn heads in his hometown, La Belle Province.
In Frelighsburg, the Pinaccle Domaine has 12 tanks to manufacture its ice cider and other alcoholic beverages.
At Domaine Bel-Chas, Saint-Charles-de-Bellechasse, Louis Chassé and Marielle Béland swear by the La Garde tanks. “We used a technology showcase for SML. Fetzer Wines representatives came to see our facilities and they were frankly impressed, “says Louis Chassé.
SNL has already achieved sales in California.
Rodney Strong Vineyards, one of chardonnays is successful at the SAQ, has bought 57 La Garde tanks, including 51 of 6,000 gallons. They were delivered to the plant in Lévis – one of three facilities in SNL in the Quebec City area – the vineyard Healdsburg truck. “Rodney Strong was able to increase its production by 40% with our tanks,” noted Jostran Lamontagne, stressing that a vessel La Garde is more expensive than a traditional tank. “Quickly, by cons, the producer realizes that the investment is worth it. He comes to producing more wine and, above all, a high quality wine. ”
Among its customers, La Garde account other prestigious wineries including Alpha Omega, Far Niente and Silver Oak.