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Barrel Racks: New options for safety or to support winemaking.

Fermentation and seismic safety are the two main areas in which barrel rack manufacturers are innovating. Suppliers have added new rack types and features to either make it easier to assist barrel fermentation or help keep barrel racks standing in the event of an earthquake. Wines & Vines checked with major suppliers about new and existing products.


A new interlocking barrel pallet system is the latest offering by Seismarack Systems, which is produced by Worksafe Technologies in Valencia, Calif. The new pallets feature male and female connectors on the sides of the rack that provide a secure link between stacks. Interlocking bumpers on the front and back of the racks snap together, providing further stability. The pallets also feature flexible stainless steel or urethane grip support bands on which the barrels rest. The bands are the point of contact on barrels when the pallets are stacked. The first rack of any stack also can be leveled with adjustable feet that can be preset to match a floor slope or adjusted as needed.


As well as refurbishing old barrel racks, Topco in Grover Beach, Calif., manufactures new racks and the Topcap to help secure stacked barrels. The Topcap is a single bar, two-barrel rack designed to be strapped to barrels at the top of a stack. Secured with a ratchet strap, the Topcap helps ensure the top barrels of a rack aren't launched off their racks during an earthquake, causing other stacks to topple.


Based in St. Louis, Mo., Titan Rack produces double-bar two- and four-barrel racks as well as a half rack for two barrels. The company also makes a removable center rack that can be used to rest a single barrel securely in a two-barrel rack.


Bonar Plastics is a brand of Lincoln, Neb.-based Snyder Plastics that produces a range of winemaking equipment, which includes its Rackmaster two- and four-barrel racks. The racks feature a one-piece HDPE design without welded joints, and the company says the plastic material is more resistant to the demands of a working cellar and rust while also gentler on the barrels. Bonar reports a stack of six barrels on its racks remained standing after being subjected to 125% of the of seismic force of the 2014 Napa earthquake at the University of California, Berkeley's Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center.


In addition to a line of standard two- and four-barrel metal racks, College Place, Wash.-based Rack & Maintenance Source produces a four-keg rack for topping wine or kegged wine. The rack can be stacked three high. The company also offers a single rack that can cradle a 60-gallon barrel or be flipped over and support a 30-gallon barrel.


The latest innovation by Stockton, Calif.-based rack manufacturer Western Square Industries is its Red Fermenter rack, which is an upgrade to the company's Barrel Master rack. The two-barrel rack features two sets of rollers for each barrel, and the rollers can be spun with the use of a hand-held drive motor, or power drill, to make spinning barrels quicker, easier and safer without allowing oxygen to enter the barrels. The Red Fermenter features a larger footprint (63.5 inches by 32 inches) to provide greater stability and make barrel work easier. The Red Fermenter can be stacked eight high and feature Western Square's interlocking loading system, in which racks rest on racks and not barrels. The rack can be built to accommodate puncheons or Cognac casks and is offered in stainless steel or powder coated.


Barrel Safe Cellar Racks in Sonoma, Calif., is the North American vendor of four-post racks produced in Australia by RGB Industries. The company claims the racks are the most secure and safest way to protect wine or employees, because the racks rest on other racks rather than stacked barrels. Different barrel types can rest in the same rack, and barrels can be stacked eight high. The racks can be fitted for wheels to accommodate lees stirring.


Imported through Rich Xiberta, Sagarte racks are manufactured in Spain and feature a unique, multi-sided design so that racks are stacked on top of racks and not barrels. The company's latest product is the Abau Extraction rack that features a slider in which a barrel can be pulled from within a rack to be topped or racked without the entire stack needing to be broken down. The racks can be stacked seven high.


French cooper Tonnellerie Baron also produces the OxO line of racks that are designed specifically for barrel fermentation. The company's new M600 monobloc caters to barrel fermentation of red grapes in large vessels such as puncheons. The single rack features an integrated gearbox that can spin a large barrel on aluminum rollers with stainless steel ball bearings with just a power drill. A drip tray makes removing lees or wastewater cleaner, and the rack and barrel can be moved with a pallet jack.

The Wines & Vines Product Focus feature is not intended to provide a definitive listing of ail available products in a particular segment or provide any comparative analysis, but rather serve as an overview of what's new or available and also of potential interest to readers as determined by the magazine's editorial staff.

Please note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.

Caption: Worksafe Technologies

Caption: Bonar Plastics

Caption: Rack & Maintenance Source

Caption: Western Square

Caption: Barrel Safe Cellar Racks

Caption: Sagarte

Caption: Oxo
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Title Annotation:PRODUCT FOCUS
Comment:Barrel Racks: New options for safety or to support winemaking.(PRODUCT FOCUS)
Author:Adams, Andrew
Publication:Wines & Vines
Date:Nov 1, 2017
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