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Tank Garage Winery

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Winemaking

"We make wines that push norms, boundaries and archaic conventions with a deep respect for the land and community that grow our grapes." –Bertus Van Zyl, Winemaker

At Tank Garage, we believe that wine should never be boring. We create wines with soul & purpose, with a goal of adding to the collective conversation. We push boundaries, experimenting with new & old school winemaking techniques and never shy away from a good challenge.

Our wines are sourced from some of California's most important vineyards. We seek out the uncommon, the misfit varieties and the stuff you've never even heard of. Why? Because we can, and because Napa Valley doesn't need another single-vineyard Cabernet. We work with farmers all over the state of California, as far south as Santa Barbara, as far north as Mendocino, from the Sonoma Coast all the way out to the Sierra Foothills. We stive to work with like-minded growers promoting sustainable farming practices, so that we can continue our dream of making wine for years to come. 

Each of our releases is truly one-of-a-kind. From the blend, to the bottle, to the style in which the wine is made, we never repeat the same wine twice. And to us – that's a good thing. It allows us to fully showcase what nature gives us each vintage and create something truly unforgettable. We utilize a number of different fermentation techniques from foot-stomped whole-cluster ferments to carbonic maceration to open-top fermentation. Our wines are aged in oak, stainless steel, and sometimes even a cacciopesto. We play around with multi-vintage and extended-barrel aged wines. If you can think of a cool winemaking technique, chances are, we're playing around with it in the cellar. 

Meet the Team

Bertus Van Zyl, Winemaker

We work with an array of incredible vineyards and grape varieties all across the state and my goal is always to have each site express itself in the purest way possible. I follow a minimal intervention approach while always pushing the limits with experimentation and having fun throughout the winemaking process. At Tank Garage I get to lean into my mad scientist side since all of our wines are one-off productions with unique winemaking methods and blends.

I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and I am fortunate that I knew I wanted to be a winemaker at the age of 15. I got my degree in winemaking at the University of Stellenbosch. A chance encounter and a random introduction to James Harder in 2011, while I was doing a travelling harvest in Napa Valley away from my full-time job in South Africa, led to an interview and a job opportunity with the Farm Collective crew that started in 2012. I have been a part of this wild ride since the beginning!

My wife and I welcomed our beautiful daughter, Margo, into the world 5 months ago so we are basking in the joy of parenthood. We have been making wine under the Belong Wine Co. label since 2017 so there is always a lot of winemaking talk in our house. We love spending time outside, taking in all the beauty of California, going hiking, cycling and camping as often as possible.


PC: Troy Christian, A Perfect Vintage

Timothy Milos, Consultant Winemaker

Wine should be delicious, for its whole purpose is to "glad the heart of Man”. There are many paths to this end, and they are each worth exploring. Tank is the playground where anything goes so long as its delicious. Our playground has kindergarten rules: include everyone, be kind, have fun, explore, share.

I came to wine tangentially, while pursuing a graduate degree in molecular plant pathology. Leaving that pursuit, I began working in upstate New York, then in Napa Valley while studying wine concurrently at UC Davis. After three harvests working with Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I took a six month internship abroad making wine with a premiere Pinot Noir and Chardonnay house in the Mornington in Australia, which was also one of the very few wineries that produced a variety of Italian varietal wines, including Sangiovese, Marzamino, Arneis, Barbera and Dolcetto. I returned to work in Napa Valley for S. Anderson, where I learned classic methode champenoise and made Cabernet Sauvignon. I was their last winemaker, then Cliff Lede’s first winemaker, focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. I left to consult, working with wineries in Napa and Sonoma, and later Oregon and Washington. I have always been interested in the diversity of winemaking traditions and methodologies and their intersection with variety and terroir. Tank is constantly striving to find other ways of approaching wine, to rediscover or invent new methods that reveal unseen aspects of vineyard or variety. Its not about being different, it's about exploring the possible and finding the treasures revealed.

Michael Roets, Assistant Winemaker

I am committed to honest, transparent and sustainable winemaking. At Tank we keep production small and work closely with our sustainable grower friends to ensure the best possible grapes for producing quality wines. I believe wine should be an inclusive experience. Although we take winemaking very seriously, you won't find any snobs at Tank. 

Since my late teens I knew that I wanted to make wine for a living. After I worked my first harvest in South Africa I went on a global harvest adventure, working harvests in Sonoma, New-Zealand and Portugal. I went back to Sonoma after a few more harvests in South Africa for a permanent job in a winery. It wasn't long after my return to California that I heard about the coolest winery on the planet with the coolest wines. 

Christie Basinas, Cellar Lead

I want to celebrate the grapes, the vineyard, the grower, and the vintage by fermenting with as little manipulation as possible in the cellar to capture the spirit of terroir. I crave extremes of the ephemeral and the hedonistic, flirting with the esoteric. Our wines reflect this consistently, so it’s a constant point of gratitude for me. 

I started in the wine industry after moving back to the US from France following college. I got a job in the wine department at Whole Foods Market while beginning to study and get certified with WSET, and with that education, became a wine buyer. I ultimately recognized that I wanted to turn theory to practice, so I moved to Sonoma County as a winemaking intern in Dry Creek Valley on a biodynamic farm. I spent a couple of vintages there before joining the Tank team in 2020, following the self-reflection that the pandemic inherently forced. I realized that I needed a change and to continue chasing the things that make me happy, and those are based in the essence of play and exploration. If that’s not what Tank perpetuates, then I don’t know who does. 

Photogallery rendered here.