Q. I’m hearing that stainless steel is the bee’s knees when it comes to fermenting wine. True?
A. Although wooden and cement tanks are still preferred by many winemakers, modern stainless steel wine vats offer plenty of advantages. For starters, they’re exceptionally easy to clean and maintain. This is a bigger plus than you might think, because effective cleaning greatly reduces the possibility of spoilage bacteria ruining the wine. But the really big benefit of stainless is the ability to control the heat generated during the fermentation process. Many stainless steel vats have the capability of cooling the juice as it ferments. This fosters the freshest, most lively, fruit flavors, which are not only welcome in many red wines, but especially prized in light, flashy whites, such as many zippy-crisp Sauvignon Blancs.