The story of our terracotta products

The basic material: terracotta

We take the basic materials for the clay directly from the mine and process it at our terracotta company. We purify and mix the basic materials to a special composition so the porosity will be consistent and just right. Now we have a piece of raw clay, a pure and living material from the earth. This piece of clay is formed by craftsmen into an amphora by hand. The new born amphora has the time to dry gently in the air until it is ready to go into the KILN to take its final form.

The elements of nature earth, water, air and fire make it possible to create our unique contemporary amphorae which reminds us to the ancient craftmanship of terracotta pottery in human history.

The technical story

Our terracotta composition has been researched and proved to comply with the requirements for food use: all components are known and controlled.

The porosity of our standard clay composition is around 2,5 % and the pore size <0,4 micron. This porosity provides a moderate level of micro-oxidation.
We measure the porosity of each amphora during production to make sure it is consistent and right.

The fineness of the pores in our amphorae limits the development of micro-organisms in the material and makes it easy to clean. Even red wine is not really staining the interior of the terracotta products so they can be used alternating for making red and white wine.

Take into consideration that the inner surface of the amphora is quite rough and this plays also a role in the development of the wine.
The finished vessels are filled with a solution of water and tartaric acid to check their integrity. If everything is ok, we let them dry and pack them well for their final destination.

Difference with traditional Amphora

Dolium, qvevri, Talha are all names for traditional and local amphorae. Not only the name is different; they were made out of the local clay. They were far from ideal and had to be treated after heating with bee wax or something else to prevent leakage. Some traditional amphorae contained too much calcium to be reliable for wine storage. 

With a mixture of different naturally occurring clays we were able to make amphorae which work very well without any additional treatment. Our amphorae last long and require few maintenance.

Controlled Micro-oxidation

Every amphora is checked individually so it provides the right micro-oxidation.

Evaporation

This is a consequence of porosity needed for the micro-oxidation (like in barrels). The vaporization speed of water and alcohol is different depending on temperature and air humidity. When cellars are open during fermentation the evaporation is higher and it cools the fermentation.

Hygienic material

The small pore size of the amphora and the absence of wax treatment results in an easy to clean surface and little development of micro-organisms.

Integrity test

We test the integrity of every amphora by filling the amphora for 48 hours with a solution of tartaric acid and water which is similar to wine.

Our amphorae are made to last a long time and require few maintenance.

Available terracotta products

230 liter amphora

500 liter amphora

550 liter fermentation vat

Basic rules for the use of the terracotta products

  1. Control the packaging as soon as the product is unloaded by the carrier (amphorae are assured during transport and delivery). If there is any damage, please notify us as soon as possible so we can find a solution.
  2. If you move the product, please make sure to use the packaging material: it is helpful to absorb possible shocks that could compromise the integrity of the product.
  3. Put the product in its designed location and place it on a regular flat surface to avoid damage to the bottom. Leave it empty for 1 day, then fill it with water only. We always test the product with a solution of water and tartaric acid before we send it, but you have to make sure the product works well. Avoid moving filled vessels because the risk of damage is greater.
  4. 2 days after the water filling, check the product thoroughly. If there are any leaks, please notify us as soon as possible so we can find a solution.
  5. During fermentation, the amphora should be used without the lid. After the fermentation, you may close it. Do not over-tighten the srews of the lit, use average strenght to tighten the screws . Another option would be that the fermentation would take place in a terracotta fermentation vat and the ageing in an amphora.
  6. You can use Teflon tape or bee wax around every closed opening, in order to make sure you have an airtight seal if necessary.
  7. In order to avoid an air bubble inside the cap, the airlock on top of the lid must be inserted after the amphora’s complete filling. Close the amphora with the lid, complete the filling through the hole of the lid if necessary. Insert the airlock and finish the filling untill half of the airlock is filled with wine or other liquid.
  8. For an effective cleaning of the product we suggest the following possibilities:
    1. High pressure washer using hot water with a temperature of 60-80 °C ensures good cleaning. 
    2. The use of ozone and UV rays also guarantee optimal microbiological hygiene.
    3. Fill the amphora with water and add 2-4 g/liter of potassium metabisulphite and leave it for at least 6-8 hours; wash out well afterwards with lots of water. Fill the amphora with a solution of water and 5-10 grams/liter of citric acid and leave it again working for at least 6-8 hours; wash out again afterwards with lots of water.
    4. Non-aggressive acid and basic detergents can be used also.

    Our products can be cleaned easily, in a simpler way than wooden barriques. You can use our tilting rack to make it much easier.

  9. We advice against using high temperature of our terracotta products in combination with metallic elements.
  10. When the terracotta product won’t be used for a long time, clean it as suggested above and leave it to dry completely.