Earlier this week we farewelled Anduino, Andrea and Enrico, our three master coopers from Garbellotto in Italy who were in Australia for five weeks building 13 large oak vats to support a 46% increase in NED Whisky inventory in the March quarter.
Their visit included a two-week mandatory quarantine period, followed by three weeks constructing 12 x14,000-litre and 1 x 25,000-litre super vat to provide an additional 193,000 litres of maturation capacity in the recently opened NED Barrel House #2.
The trio have become part of the extended TSI family, following similar trips to Australia in 2018 and again in 2019.
The NED Barrel Houses now containing 30 x 14,000-litre oaks vats and the 1 x 25,000-litre super vats and are part of TSI’s innovative maturation program which seeks to develop proprietary processes using a variety of vat and barrel sizes to deliver NED Whisky’s target flavour profile and price point.
This research & development program also includes the trialling of micro-oxygenation, activated carbon filtering and charred oak alternatives, as well as distillation techniques to help accelerate maturation.
A gallery of images from the construction is available on the NED Whisky Facebook page
How the vats are manufactured
During the manufacturing stage prior to shipping to Australia, Garbellotto use a direct heat method known as ‘Bombè’ to slightly curve the vats and help them stay perfectly tightened. The ‘Bombè’ process is then followed by toasting.
The construction process is completed by fitting hoops made of hot galvanised and phosphate-coated iron over the staves. The interior of each vat is lightly planed and the exterior planed and then sanded.
The vats are tested at controlled pressures and temperatures to verify perfect seal and precise capacity, before being deconstructed and shipped to Australian from Garbellotto’s manufacturing facility in Sacile north of Venice.