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Tank Garage Winery
 
July 28, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Let's Get Explicit with Explicit Content

Fanucchi-f***ing-Wood-Road Trousseau Gris, y'all.
The good shit.
The stuff dreams are made of.

If you can't tell by our fancy vintner parlance, this one variety from this one vineyard is some of the most highly-coveted, legendary shit in winemaking. It's like viticultural vibranium.

Trousseau Gris itself is a mutant. A white, meaty variant of Trousseau Noir that made its way stateside from France to California where it thrives in hot, dry conditions. Though once prevalent throughout the golden state, plantings sharply declined in the 1980s, and today, only one 10-acre block persists. Can you guess where?

Just off of the old Wood Road in the Russian River Valley town of Fulton is the Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard. Planted in 1981 by Peter Fanucchi and his father Arcangelo, this vineyard is home to old-vine Zinfandel and the last Trousseau Gris left in the United States. But it's well-tended to. Planted in sandy loam soil and organically farmed, these precious vines exist not only because they are important to the world of viticulture, but because they are essential to the Fanucchi legacy.

Peter's role as a grape grower started in childhood, working alongside his father Arcangelo who had long dreamt of farming grapes and had purchased an old Italian field blend vineyard in the early 1970s. After discovering some existing plantings of Trousseau Gris thriving in their vineyard, they together decided to plant a small block in 1981. But just three years later, before a single harvest, Arcangelo suddenly and tragically passed, leaving a 21-year-old Peter to carry on their shared legacy.

We were fortunate to have access to this fruit in 2019 for our Run Baby Run wine but had been warned that grape yields for 2020 were very limited. When talking about Trousseau Gris, we'll take whatever we can get, and thankfully Peter trusts us with his fruit. Our small pick happened under the moonlight on August 17th and Peter spent the night educating and entertaining us about his life and experience as a grape grower. The pick went quickly, but we hung out for hours, and our entire allotment fit in the bed of a pick-up truck.

Once back at the winemaking facility, our Trousseau Gris was foot-stomped whole-cluster before moving to our cocciopesto cask for 10 days. During this time of skin fermentation, the juice extracts color, aromas, and texture, creating an "orange wine" that in this case is about as orange in hue as it gets. We've been fucking around with these cocciopesto vessels for a few years. The terracotta-like material is porous and oxygenates the wine without imparting any specific characteristics. It's so cool. Due to the small size of our lot, we ran the fruit through a manual basket press and then aged it in 60% in natural French oak and the rest in stainless steel. If this process sounds more complex and intensive than most wines, it's because we're willing to do anything necessary to fulfill the rightful destiny of this Trousseau Gris.

So let's get explicit.

The color on this thing is fucking gorgeous falling somewhere on the spectrum between orange soda and blood orange. Exotic aromas of orange rind, grapefruit, and Rosewater ooze out of the glass. On the palate, we pick up these delicious flavors of blood orange, cranberry, tea leaves, and lychee with this perfect acidity that leaves your mouth watering.

An ode to keeping it explicit and rare (shout out to Tipper Gore),

Explicit Content is available on Friday, July 30th at 10 AM PT.

We only squeezed out 28 cases of this and it will go fast so don't f*** around.

Tank Garage Winery
 
July 23, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Guest Blog Series With Rosie Ellis

Rosie Ellis seated at a table with her head resting on her palm. She has her hair pinned up in braids and is wearing a black and white sleeveless shirt with a silver bracelet.

We built Tank as a bastion for dreamers and those looking to defy conventions. A winery that celebrates misfits, bootleggers, and daredevils. This summer, tune in as we celebrate the fellow dreamers of our world with our guest blog series.


This month, we're sitting down with culinary blogger Rosie Ellis, the mastermind behing @theregular_ and theregular.com.


Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you?

I’m a San Francisco native who escaped to New York for a decade and is slowly dipping her toe back into California by way of Los Angeles.

Last year I launched a website called The Regular –– a culinary source for the bon vivant. On the site, you can find interviews about food with an eclectic lineup of people in every industry, city restaurant guides written by professional chefs, kitchenwares to shop and essays from writers that I love. When I’m not heads-down on the website, I consult for other digital brands. (And when I’m not working, I’m usually planning my next meal.)

What’s your favorite Tank wine right now and why?

The Self-Love red wine is incredibly drinkable with any meal. It has lovely cherry and peppery notes without drowning out the flavors of whatever dinner you’re devouring. If you’re looking for a versatile bottle –– maybe if you’re bringing something to a friend’s house and you don’t know what they’re making –– this bottle will not only pair well but will please all types of pallets. Not only that, you help raise money for the National Alliance of Mental Illness and Health with every bottle you purchase.

Rosie shopping at a local farmer's market, carrying beets and various greens. She's wearing a grey shirt with her hair pulled into a ponytail and wearing 60s inspired sunglasses.

What's your dream?

I like to live vicariously through the general ethos of The Regular –– where it seems everyone lives in Paris, shops at local markets, eats fresh pasta every night, summers on the Amalfi coast and listens to 60s crooners on the radio. One day I’ll make this daydream my reality.

If you could see anyone in concert right now, who would it be?

I don’t think this is a current option, but I love listening to the live recordings of The Rat Pack in Las Vegas. They just seem to be having so much fun on stage –– and I love the idea of those old-timey performances where you get a proper dinner and a show. I always wonder why that setup went out of style.

What’s your favorite spot in California?

I grew up on Russian Hill in San Francisco, so I’m biased. One of my favorite spots in the city is the Ferry Building –– I love an oyster from Hog Island, the to-go station for spring rolls at Out the Door and a long lunch at Boulettes Larder overlooking The Bay.

Favorite type of food to pair with wine?

My favorite wine activity (wine-tivity?) is probably cooking –– stick me in a kitchen with friends, a bottle of wine, a playlist and a charcuterie plate and I’m a happy camper –– so I think I’d have to say my favorite food to pair with wine would probably be small bites that I can pick at –– dolmas, prosciutto, Marcona almonds, Raincoast crackers, Majestic hummus, Castelvetrano olives ... I love a Mediterranean spread.

Rosie sitting at the dinner table in her home taking a bite out of a tortellini pasta. She has her hair down and is wearing a cuffed white shirt and a black scrunchie on her wrist.

Dream dinner or wine tasting guest?

Probably Fran Lebowitz or Roxane Gay … a sassy say-what-you-mean type of woman is who I aspire to be and always who I’m drawn to. Elaine Stritch also would have been a wonderful dinner party guest in her day.

Preferred wine type (red, white or rose or all)? Elaborate!

I don’t discriminate, but if I had to choose … I love a big red with dinner and would choose a brut rose or a pet nat during the day.

Create a pairing for one of our wines (food, music, movie, etc.)

Somewhere Out On That Horizon –– with Sam Cooke on the record player and a bolognese on the table.

Tank Garage Winery
 
July 10, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Calistoga's Roman Spa Hot Springs & Resort

Nestled at the foothills of Mt. St. Helena in one of the world's most desirable regions, Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort welcomes you to Calistoga, CA. The downtown hotel and spa boast charming Tuscan-style accommodations set amid flowering Mediterranean gardens, private patios, splashing fountains, and a staff dedicated to your relaxation and pleasure. 

We explored the resort with Kathy Quast, who runs the resort with her husband, Michael. Michael's parents, Max and Gena Quast purchased what was then Piner’s Hot Springs in 1975, renovated the buildings into a resort, and changed the name to Roman Spa Hot Springs. 

Delight in a three-thousand-year-old tradition, relax the mind and body in the world-renowned geothermal mineral hot springs pools. Enhance your stay with a mud bath ritual or a spa treatment from Baths at Roman Spa and embrace the Calistoga state of mind.

The gardens at the Roman Spa Hot Springs & Resort are unlike anything else. Towering and flowering purple artichokes are surrounded by bees pollinating lavender and hibiscus flowers bigger than your hand! We can't get over how stunnin' our new Barbera and Marsanne Pét-Nat, Pleasure Trip, looks in this patch of pretty things. 🌸

Book a stay at the Roman Spa Hot Springs & Resort
https://www.romanspahotsprings.com/
1300 Washington St, Calistoga, CA 94515
Spa: 800-404-4772 Local Phone: 707-942-4441 Reservations: +1-800-914-8957

Tank Garage Winery
 
June 15, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

A Day in Yosemite

How Should You Spend a Day in Yosemite?

(with Tank wine, duh 😜)

Entering Yosemite Valley, it’s impossible to not be overwhelmed with high cliffs, deep valleys, tall waterfalls, ancient giant sequoias, and never-ending wilderness. On October 1, 1890, Yosemite became a national park, and more than 125 years later, visitors are still wowed when they turn a corner and catch the first glimpse of Yosemite in all its glory. As you twist and turn through the scenic valley, the first views of the cascading Yosemite Falls are unlike anything else. This is the perfect place for a first stop. Stretch your legs, lay out a Tank Baja Blanket, and enjoy the view.

Don't forget to pack your Tank Logo Flask, a 3-piece bar set that includes two tumblers and a 750ml vacuum insulated flask - enough to fit an entire bottle of wine on your next adventure.

Check out the Mirror Lake Trail for an easy two-mile round trip hike. Mirror lake is perfect for swimming and exploring while looking up at Half Dome directly from its base. You'll be rewarded with views of Tenaya Canyon, Mount Watkins, Washington Column, and more. It is the last remnant of a large glacial lake that once filled the entire Yosemite Valley. 

Grab one of our new "Legalize Dreams" Corduroy Hat to keep that blazin' sun out of your view!

The road to Glacier Point opens in late May or early June and closes in November. This road will also be closed for the entire year of 2022 to work on rehabilitating and improving the road so now is the time to go, y’all! The drive alone is beautiful, climbing to the south wall of Yosemite Valley at an elevation of 7,214 feet, 3,200 feet above Half Dome Village. 

It's a lil' chilly at the top so don't forget to layer up with our handmade Racing Jerseys.

We fuckin' love our National Parks! Check out our homies over at Parks Project for ways to preserve the parks we love and leave it better than we found it.

Tank Garage Winery
 
June 4, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Guest Blog Series With Jorden Rondel

We built Tank as a bastion for dreamers and those looking to defy conventions. A winery that celebrates misfits, bootleggers, and daredevils. This summer, tune in as we celebrate the fellow dreamers of our world with our guest blog series.


This month, we're sitting down with talented baker Jordan Rondel, otherwise known as @thecaker.

Jordan Rondel standing outside dressed in a white lace dress, holding a bouquet of spring flowers and a Lemon Strawberry Poppyseed Cake Kit box.


Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you?

I am Jordan Rondel aka The Caker! I’m a self-taught baker who specializes in making cakes which taste even better than they look. Alongside my bakeries in New Zealand and LA, I have a line of luxury cake kits and recipe books.

What’s your favorite Tank wine right now and why?

Self Love because it’s simply DELICIOUS.

What brings you the most joy?

My sister Anouk, who I own The Caker with - she’s my best friend and my partner in crime.

Jordan Rondel and her sister Anouk standing in a kitchen while holding The Caker Cake Kits.

What’s the #1 thing on your bucket list right now?

To travel to Greece! I’ve never been and the itch to go there has increased even more over 2020 when we couldn’t travel at all.

What’s your favorite spot in California?

My new favourite spot in LA is Debs Park. There’s a lake surrounded by beautiful trees and grass. I had a picnic there the other weekend and it was just gorgeous.

Favorite snack to pair with wine?

Cheese - any and all will do!

Best food hack?

It’s less a hack than a tip, but the flavor of desserts is always enhanced by salt, so I always add surprising amounts of salt to my cakes.

Preferred wine type (red, white or rose or all)? Elaborate!

I’m generally a red wine drinker. I tend to go for lighter style reds like Pinot or Gamay and love chillable reds! I love the soothing effects of red wine.

Dream dinner or wine tasting guest?

Anthony Bourdain, if he was still with us :(

Create a pairing for one of our wines (food, music, movie, etc.)

A glass of Self Love and a slice of my uber rich flourless dark chocolate cake - a pairing made in heaven.

Giveaway Alert!

Jordan Rondel, The Caker, holding a glass of Tokyo Love Hotel to the camera. A Lemon Strawberry Poppyseed cake with mixed berries can be seen on the table.

 
 
Tank Garage Winery
 
May 23, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

A Morning in the Vineyards with Bertus

What's Happenin' in the Vineyards?

In the heat of May, vines are transitioning between flowering and fruit set. Each tiny flower has the potential to form a single grape berry. How powerful is that? The pollinated flowers are starting to drop, emerging a tiny green sphere at the end of the stem. 

Sierra de Montserrat

Barbera, Mourvedre, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Tempranillo, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vermentino, and Verdelho

I rolled up to our first vineyard at 7:30 AM sharp as Bertus was already leaned against the truck, sunhat, and glasses in hand.

This is the Sierra de Montserrat vineyard in Loomis, CA. This vineyard is wild because you essentially turn into a residential community and boom: rolling hills of Tuscany? In between the endless rows of vineyards are huge custom-designed homes. This area is also dedicated to the conservation and preservation of about 200 acres of protected oak woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife habitat.  The days are significantly warmer here than in Napa so fruit set has already begun in some parts of the vineyard. Understandably so since the sun was already roaring in full force by 8:00 AM. Bertus predicts in just a few weeks' time that these tiny green spheres will become pea-sized berries! This vineyard is approximately 28 acres of Barbera, Mourvedre, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Tempranillo, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vermentino, and Verdelho.


Tiny flower clusters ready for bloom.

Clos du Lac

Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Grenache Noir, and Counoise

A few twists and turns down the road and we ended up at Clos du Lac, another unique vineyard community modeled after the southern region of France. From this hillside vineyard, overlooking dozens of wildflowers, you can see the itty bitty base of Folsom Lake. In French, Clos du Lac means “Walled Vineyard by the Lake" so take it literally! This vineyard is nestled in the Sierra Foothills at an elevation of 500 ft. 30 acres in the gated community have been set aside for vineyards planted with Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, and Petit Verdot. Also, several acres of Grenache Noir and a small amount of Counoise have been planted on a private estate vineyard. 

Stampede

Zinfandel and 2% combined Mission, Mourvedre, and Cinsault

Lastly, we trekked out to the Stampede vineyard just outside of Lodi where we met with Jeff Perlegos, who walked us through the rugged site. Jeff and his brother, John, farm the Stampede Vineyard near the Clements Stampede Rodeo grounds in the Lodi AVA’s Clement Hills sub-AVA. The rodeo still competes and is the biggest amateur rodeo in the country. Jeff is warm and easy-going and walking his vineyards feels like he’s invited you into his backyard. These old vines were originally planted in the 1920s, are head-trained, and were planted in a diamond pattern. Jeff expressed that the fruit takes on qualities from both the areas it straddles: Amador in Amador County and Lodi in San Joaquin County. The acidity in the grapes hails from Amador and the fruit aroma and flavor is derived from Lodi. The vineyard consists of 98% Zinfandel and 2% combined Mission, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.

What's next?

In June and July, young clusters will begin to appear. Over roughly the next 60 days, berries undergo rapid cell division and grow larger. These clusters will eventually become berry bunches. The green berries will start to change and ripen, undergoing a process called veraison. For red grapes, this is when the color changes from green to purple! Stay tuned ✌️

Tank Garage Winery
 
May 12, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

“Since 1952, Dr. Wilkinson’s has been providing wellness, relaxation, and good times. Home to healing mineral waters, "The Works" mud bath, and a backyard that keeps you connected—we’re Calistoga’s original wellness resort. And now, we’re all brand new.”

Hello, sunshine! Calistoga is calling!

To say we're stoked for the summer season is an understatement and this year, you'll want to be kickin' it poolside at Dr. Wilkinson's Resort. Founded in 1952 and re-imagined in 2020, Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs is Calistoga‘s most iconic and historic resort and spa in the heart of Wine County. 

"The Doc" Will See You

 In 1952, Dr. John Wilkinson took Calistoga mud and turned it into the star Napa Valley attraction that has existed for 60 years. "Doc and Edy founded the resort with wellness in mind all the way back in 1952. Our goal is to embrace Doc's pioneering spirit and time-honored, stress alleviating, and health balancing treatments in a completely reimagined environment, with every element of the resort experience designed with integrated wellness in mind. Dr. Wilkinson's will continue to be the resort destination where wellness meets happiness." Doc studied alternative medicine and practiced wellness before these ideas became popular. Doc tapped into Calistoga's famous waters, sharing the healing benefits of mineral soaks and mud baths with over a million travelers and wellness seekers from around the world.

A spa attendant hard at work in 1962

 

Spa & Baths

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs is going to be your new favorite place with relaxing massages, mud baths, and mineral springs aplenty. The new spa features four mud baths, three geothermal mineral pools, eight new mineral baths, falling water treatments, CBD and aromatherapy experiences, and new outdoor treatment rooms in the reimagined spa garden. Fed by geothermal hot springs, three mineral-rich pools are yours to enjoy before and after your spa treatments, and throughout your stay. If you want the full spa experience, go with "The Works:" relax in the volcanic ash mud (a secret family recipe mixed with Calistoga's famous warm mineral water), then dip into the natural healing mineral pools and finally refresh with a full body massage. Afterward, you'll feel energized, squeaky clean, and ready to take on all the wine Napa Valley has to pour.

Good Eats

Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs launched House of Better, a new restaurant in partnership with Trevor Logan, best known for the popular Green Chile Kitchen in San Francisco and Chile Pies Baking Co. in Sonoma County, CA.

Consider House of Better as a spa treatment for your taste buds.

The restaurant will feature dishes including wood-fired flatbreads, "booster bowls," salads, and traditional New Mexican fare. The beverage menu will feature a beer and wine selection highlighting boutique local partners, and a collection of healthy and fermented beverages such as water kefir, kombuchas, adaptogen teas, and agua frescas. The restaurant will also feature Chile Pies Baking Co.'s famous seasonally-rotating pies.

(There is literally a pie vending machine y'all.)

How to Visit

Straight from the source:

The resort is currently accepting limited reservations and has taken precautionary measures guided by recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safety of guests and staff. Additionally, state and county health and safety COVID-19 guidelines will be implemented.

Guests will have the option to check-in by using their cell phones as keys and can check-in online without stopping at the front desk. The majority of the guest rooms open directly to the exterior, which will also enable guests to access their rooms without entering the lobby. The entire staff will practice social distancing, use personal protective gear, and implement enhanced cleaning and safety measures.

https://drwilkinson.com/
1507 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515
(707) 942-4102

Tank Garage Winery
 
April 16, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Storing & Opening Sparkling Pét-Nat

What is Pét-Nat?

So you’ve heard of it. But what the hell is it? Pét-Nat is short for petillant naturel (aka “naturally bubbling”) and is a sparkling wine made according to the traditional ancestral method. Pét-Nats are bottled while the wine is still fermenting, which results in trapped CO2, creating bubbles. This process requires minimal intervention from the winemaker and, like most wine made naturally, it typically ranges from 10-12% ABV (alcohol by volume). Thanks to their natural yeast, Pét-Nats are exciting and produce funky aromas and characteristics unlike any other style of wine. The traditional method produces the bubbliest of sparkling wines at a whoppin' 5-6 atmospheres of pressure. The result is a rustic and lively wine true to its roots.

How to Store Pét-Nat?

While all sparkling wine should be served cold—both for the best flavor and to keep those bubbles suspended in the wine—the wilder, less-filtered styles especially require it. Essentially, like any wine, you’ll want to store the bottle in a cool, dark spot. Because of the sediment in the bottle, you want to keep the bottle standing upright so that the sediment settles to the bottom. Pét-nat isn’t meant to be kept in a cellar – it can last a year or two if stored properly, but generally speaking, isn’t meant to be aged. In other words, pop a bottle and start enjoying ASAP! Put in the refrigerator to chill before serving, and serve as cold as possible. It is important to put the bottle in the fridge as opposed to an ice bucket because the neck should also stay chilled. If your wines have been shipped, this next part is super important! First, wait 3-6 weeks before opening. We know it’s hard but it’ll be worth the wait.

How to Open Pét-Nat?

Open quickly as most Pet-Nats have lots of bubbles that can spill over. Use a continuous pour into several glasses or into a decanter so as to not kick up the lees at the bottom of the bottle. Stop pouring when you start to see a little sediment pouring out. Leave the lees in the bottle. It is a good idea to pry the crown cap slightly and let the pressure fizzle out before fully opening the bottle, to avoid explosion.
 

Our Pét-Nats?

The first two times we attempted to make a Pét-Nat, things didn't go as planned. Two years of learning and refinement later, we finally perfected the craft and the result was Space Crush in 2018. How'd it turn out? OH MY GOD. We nailed this one. It is fresh, crisp, and complex with a floral perfume and green apple, peachy notes that endlessly orbit around your mouth. The texture is fascinating, the bubbles so satisfying and the finish extends to the moon. 

In 2019, we released the wildly popular Pop-Nat. Tart raspberries and strawberries hit your palate on the first sip, with tiny bubbles that dance across your palate and make way for a wave of crisp acidity.

We released Come, Saints and Sinners  the following year. Come, Saints and Sinners is a Carbonic Macerated 100% Petite Sirah Pétillant Naturel sparkling wine made from the legendary Rorick Heritage Vineyard in Calaveras County, California. It's interesting, but not too weird. Complex, but so damn drinkable. Honest to god, this is one of the coolest wines ever produced by Tank Garage Winery.

In April of 2021, we released Tokyo Love Hotel. Big mouthwatering aromas of wild cherry and blackberry candy bubble from the glass. In your mouth, it’s got a zangy intensity of flavor with those fresh flavors of blackberry, raspberry woven into small delicate bubbles. It’s like a Lambrusco plus skittles and we love it!

Introduction to Tank

Hey there! Welcome to Tank Garage Winery, the coolest winery in Napa Valley. No... really. Visiting the tasting room is like taking a trip back in time to a 1920s gas station turned speakeasy, pouring rad as shit wines and playing bomb as hell music. Cool California vibes mixed with vintage decor bring to fruition the most quirky encounter you’ll get at a winery. Every day, we celebrate this crazy dream turned into a movement where we get to do cool shit and you get to come along for the ride. We celebrate the adventurers, the dreamers, the weirdos, the free spirits, and the misfits. So next time you’re in town, you won’t want to miss out. In addition to red wine, white wine, and rose, we also dabble in the dazzling worlds of orange wine, sparkling pet nats, natural wine, carbonically macerated wines, and so on. We collaborate with tattoo artists, digital artists, and photographers to create some of the most eccentric labels you’ve seen on a bottle. So if you’re adventurous and love trying new things, we’re the winery for you. 
If you’re game, join the club and get to know our wines, the vineyards we source our fruit from, and the rad folks who bring them to you. It’s one you won’t forget.

Tank Garage Winery
 
April 8, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Getting Closure with Wine Closures

A bottle of wine is representative of the winery and the folks behind its creation; it is the product of viticulture, winemaking, and marketing. This makes the choice between wine closures so critical. Wine closures are a term used in the wine industry to refer to the object used to seal the bottle and avoid unfavorable contact between the wine and oxygen. There are endless options made from both natural and synthetic material. Corks are the most traditional and common type of closure and they come in the form of natural corks, plastic corks, and technical corks. The closure can tell a great deal about the wine it encompasses in regards to longevity, quality, and tradition. The best way to choose your wine closure is to determine how much time you expect the wine to live in the bottle before opening. 

OG Cork

The OG cork dates back to the 17th century when glass bottles replaced clay amphorae and wooden barrels. Cork is typically the preferred method for consumers. Corks are 90% natural cork and 10% natural glue mixed with cork granules. This combination provides strong, high-quality corks with elasticity that hold the cork in place. These are the best corks to use if you are looking for a strong sealer that can be stored for a long time. Keep in mind that corks can be fairly expensive to make and when using them, there is always a risk of cork taint. Using alternatives can be cheaper, avoid the risk of cork taint, and can be more practical. Once fitted with a cork, bottles should be stored on their side or upside down. This will keep the cork from drying out and losing its seal. Once it’s bottled, make sure to store the wine on its side.

Synthetic Corks

Synthetic corks are significantly cheaper than their OG counterparts, costing about a dime to 15 cents each; Let’s just call it the low-budget brother. They are designed to look, function, and “pop” like the natural cork. Synthetic corks are made from plastic compounds called polyethylene (polyethylene is also used for milk bottles and plastic pipes) which eliminates the risk of cork taint. Although, because they lack elasticity, it’s easier for oxygen to get through and for the wine to leak. Synthetic corks are best suited for wines you intend on opening within 6-12 months. Unlike natural corks, most synthetic corks are made from material that is not biodegradable but it is recyclable. Synthetic corks are very consistent in oxygen transmission, allowing the winemaker to tweak the oxidation rate of the wine by choosing from a range of synthetic corks with different rates of known oxygen transmission. 

Screwing Around with Screw Caps

Many Americans believe screw-caps are indicative of low-quality wine but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Screw-caps are made from aluminum materials that thread onto the bottleneck. There are actually two parts: the metal cap and the liner inside the top of the cap that seals to the bottle lip. The liner is the important piece controlling how much oxygen can get into the wine. Screw-caps are used predominantly in Austria, Australia, and New Zealand. Many of these producers believe that screw caps are the solution to cork taint, benefit aging, and preserve the aromatics. Screw caps have only been around since the ‘60s but have become increasingly popular as an alternative wine closure. According to Wine Spectator, “A 10-year study done by the Australian Wine Research Institute indicated that wine retaining the most freshness over time had screw cap closures.” Interesting stuff, right?

Sparkling Muselets

A muselet is the wire cage that fits over a bottle of champagne, sparkling wine, cider, or beer to prevent the cork from emerging under the pressure of its carbonated contents. The name is derived from the French museler, or to muzzle. The wire cage secures the cork in the bottle, keeping it sealed until it is ready for consumption. Muselets traditionally require six half-turns counter-clockwise to open. Legend has it that Dom Perignon first had the idea to replace the original Champagne stoppers which were wooden bungs wrapped in oil-soaked hemp then sealed with wax and a cork stopper. Muselets are now machine-made in the millions, varying in size, color, and design. Many folks even like collecting their muselets, as different manufacturers will feature their emblems. 

Bottle Caps

Crown caps (aka crown seal, crown cap, or just cap) were the first form of a crimped bottle cap, invented by Charles Robert Spencer. Spencer was a machinist that sold the patent to another company that quickly began mass-producing the product. The crown cap was the first highly successful disposable product that allowed soda bottles to be stored upright. Bottles that can accommodate crown caps can usually handle a bit of pressure. You don’t typically see a lot of wine sealed with a crown cap but it is becoming increasingly popular. At Tank, we’ve used crown caps on all of our Pet-nat sparkling wines. Not only do they look cool, but they also seal the vessel that undergoes a secondary fermentation inside the bottle.

Tank Garage Winery
 
March 31, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

What the hell is Pét-Nat Sparkling Wine?

What is Pét-Nat?

So you’ve heard of it. But what the hell is it? Pét-Nat is short for petillant naturel (aka “naturally bubbling”) and is a sparkling wine made according to the traditional ancestral method. Pét-Nats are bottled while the wine is still fermenting, which results in trapped CO2, creating bubbles. This process requires minimal intervention from the winemaker and, like most wine made naturally, it typically ranges from 10-12% ABV (alcohol by volume). Thanks to their natural yeast, Pét-Nats are exciting and produce funky aromas and characteristics unlike any other style of wine. The traditional method produces the bubbliest of sparkling wines at a whoppin' 5-6 atmospheres of pressure. The result is a rustic and lively wine true to its roots.

History of Pétillant Natural Sparkling Wines

Despite seeming like the latest and greatest, Pét-Nat was first developed in the 16th century (pre-Champagne) and is the oldest way of making sparkling wine. In the 1500s a monk in Saint-Hilaire, France, noticed that his bottled and sealed wine had formed bubbles. The wine most likely had stopped fermenting in cold winter temperatures, been bottled, and started fermenting again when the weather warmed in the spring. Therefore Pét-Nat was born. In the early 1990s, Christian Chaussard, who then had an estate in Vouvray, found that one of his wines with some residual sugar had begun re-fermenting inside the bottle. After tasting this delightfully accidental fizzy wine, Chaussard researched the méthode ancestrale and began experimenting with the process. In the 1990s, Loire Valley winemakers all began experimenting with Pét-Nat as well, following in Chaussard's steps. 

What’s the difference between Pét-Nat and Champagne-style Sparkling Wines?

Traditional Champagne and other sparkling wines are the product of combining one or more still, dry wines. These finished wines are bottled and aged and CO2 is created during a second fermentation in the bottle, unlike Pét-Nats, which do not undergo a second fermentation. While it’s true that the ancestral method predates the Champagne method, Pét-Nat only shot up in the last decade. The Pét-Nat method isn’t limited geographically like Champagne but is most commonly found in the Loire Valley and Limoux in France as well as Italy. Traditionally Pét Nats are cloudy, unfiltered, and capped with a crown cap (like beer), compared to the mass-produced products from larger Champagne and Prosecco houses that use characteristically large corks. Classic Champagne may require several years of aging, Pét-Nats are often released and meant to be consumed young. This also isn’t a high roller situation like Champagne; You can easily find a bottle of Pét-Nat for a reasonable $20-$40 compared to their more expensive sparkling counterparts.

Our Pét-Nats (so far)

All the cool kids are drinking Pet-Nats.

Back in 2017, we released our very first Pét-Nat called California Love. Shout out to Deutschland for the amazing grapes that made this sparkling wine possible. For the core of this blend, we chose Lake County Riesling (65%) for its acidity and perfumed aromas. As a compliment, we added this rad Mendocino Gewürztraminer (33%) and Pinot Gris (2%) that Bertus found us for some pop and flavor. We used several old-school techniques to make this wine and decided not to filter it, because we know you like it a little dirty. In the end, we got a sparkling wine with amazing texture and notes of honeydew melon, honey blossom and jasmine with some nuttiness from the lees contact. The finish is crisp, dry and unforgettable. We love California and it has given all of us so much. This past year has been trying and difficult for this beautiful state, so we dedicated this project to California and make a wine so full of love that it can only be described as “right on.”

The first two times we attempted to make a Pét-Nat, things didn't go as planned. Two years of learning and refinement later, we finally perfected the craft and the result is Space Crush. Our friends from Babcock Ranch in Solano County hooked us up with a few small lots of their celestial Riesling. After some manual foot-stomping and a run through the basket press, the fermentation process began. After a few weeks, we moved the juice to bottles where the fermentation continued. How'd it turn out? OH MY GOD. We nailed this one. It's fresh, crisp and complex with a floral perfume and green apple, peachy notes that endlessly orbit around your mouth. The texture is fascinating, the bubbles so satisfying and the finish extends to the moon. Space Crush is a natural wine and was not fully filtered. Because of this, there will be sediment inside each bottle from the Pét-Nat process that tells you it is legit. It's dirty, embrace it.

In 2019, we released the wildly popular Pop-Nat. We picked the grapes from Rubidoux Ridge Vineyard, a family-owned property located at 2000-2100 ft. in the rolling hills of the Fiddletown AVA in Amador County. Though this particular vineyard isn’t that old, the area’s grape-growing history can be traced back to the mid-1800s when the population swelled with European settlers chasing the gold rush dream. Honoring the old-school vibe of the area, we decided to pay homage to the vintage popsicle of yesteryear. The label for this fun summer wine replicates popsicle wrappers from the 1960s and 1970s. Just like that cool popsicle on a hot summer day, this wine is refreshing AF on a hot summer day. Tart raspberries and strawberries hit your palate on the first sip, with tiny bubbles that dance across your palate and make way for a wave of crisp acidity.

    Lastly (but not really…), we released Come, Saints and Sinners. Come, Saints and Sinners is a Carbonic Macerated 100% Petite Sirah Pétillant Naturel sparkling wine made from the legendary Rorick Heritage Vineyard in Calaveras County, California. When we first started checking on this wine, we knew we had a unicorn on our hands. It's like Pop-Nat made out with a Cherry Otter Pop while Love Now More Than Ever watched. Come, Saints and Sinners is ungodly special. Big cherry and juicy strawberry fizzes with brisk minerality, and hints of nectarine and citrus. Our resident Somm, Aaron, compares it to an Italian Lambrusco made in a frizzante style. It's interesting, but not too weird. Complex, but so damn drinkable. Honest to god, this is one of the coolest wines ever produced by Tank Garage Winery.

Introduction to Tank

Hey there! Welcome to Tank Garage Winery, the coolest winery in Napa Valley. No... really. Visiting the tasting room is like taking a trip back in time to a 1920s gas station turned speakeasy, pouring rad as shit wines and playing bomb as hell music. Cool California vibes mixed with vintage decor bring to fruition the most quirky encounter you’ll get at a winery. Every day, we celebrate this crazy dream turned into a movement where we get to do cool shit and you get to come along for the ride. We celebrate the adventurers, the dreamers, the weirdos, the free spirits, and the misfits. So next time you’re in town, you won’t want to miss out. Come by our little garage and celebrate with us.