Giesen Wines adds German-crafted granite tanks to winemaking process »

Adding a further dimension to these NZ wines

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Giesen Wines in The Marlborough Wine region of New Zealands South Island

Giesen Wines in The Marlborough Wine region of New Zealands South Island

Giesen Wines of Marlborough with salmon dish
Granite tanks at Giesen Wines
Granite tank for fermenting and storage at Giesen Wines
German crafted granite tanks at Giesen Wines


New Zealand winemakers are keen to create distinctive points of difference – there’s Tony Bish with his egg fermenters and now Giesen Wines has installed three granite tanks, freshly chiselled by a stonemason in Germany.

Whilst granite tanks have been used for centuries by the French for fermenting their wines, Giesen believes these are a first for New Zealand. 

Giesen’s chief winemaker, Nikolai St George, is using these hefty vessels to add an extra dimension to their wine blends. He explains that granite acts a little like oak barrels – it lets air in and ever so slightly ‘sweats’ and it’s this slight evaporation that adds concentration to the wine. It also ensures the wine matured in granite is clean, bright and full of flavour.

These tanks are also excellent for white wine fermentation and storing, particularly riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc as they have a natural cooling ability to keep wine at a consistent temperature allowing excellent flavour development and wine texture.

Each bespoke granite tank

  • is made from a single slab of this volcanic rock;
  • weighs in at 3 tonnes;
  • holds 750L of wine; and
  • features a custom-made floating lid to help keep the wine fresher. 

Giesen has used the granite tanks to impart flinty, smoky notes to the new reserve Gemstone Riesling which is, sadly for our Australian audience, only been released in New Zealand.

As an interesting historic aside, the Giesen brothers’ family heritage includes German stonemasons so the connection has not been lost.

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February 21st, 2018
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