When you’re dealing with the wine biz on a consistent basis, there’s one thing you get to see a whole lot of (besides wine, Styrofoam, and cardboard, I mean):
Stainless steel tanks.
Everybody who produces wine wants to show you their steel tanks. Wine people are obsessed with their steel tanks; they basically have total hard-ons for their steel tanks. There might actually be a support group for wine industry folk who have steel tank fetishes… I’m not sure, but I’m also not in any hurry to research that one. Anyway, they don’t just want to show you their steel tanks, they want to talk at length about their steel tanks – their capacity, how many they have, how big they are, and how they use them in special, careful, meticulous ways for separate vinifications of Wine X versus Wine Y. They want you to really understand their steel tanks. They want you to love their steel tanks.
The trouble with all this steel tank love is that there are only really two kinds of people that actually give a rat’s ass at all about steel tanks:
1) Wine producers who use steel tanks, and 2) Companies that manufacture steel tanks.
I’ve yet to meet anyone (anyone!) else in the Universe that cares about steel tanks – including me, and (very, very likely) including you who are reading me talking about the wine biz’s hard-on for steel tanks.
So when you find yourself in a situation where steel tanks are actually, truly, 100%-certified cool – like when they’re hidden in the bowels of churches from the Middle Ages in Chianti’s Volpaia, for example – well, let’s just say you get real interested, real fast. Which is exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks ago as I whiled away my time under the Tuscan sun in the heart of Italy’s ancient, beautiful and storied Chianti Classico region…