In 1912 Georg Speidel founded a business for the production of barrels. In the 1980’s stainless steel became increasingly important and Speidel invested successfully in the new technology. By 1996 they started producing Polyethylene (PE) containers for beer and wine making, including the classic egg-shaped FERMENTEGG, the first of its kind. Manufactured to allow for micro-oxidation (similar to 2nd fill oak barrels) and with a ratio between wine volume and surface area similar to a 600l oak barrel, the 600 l FERMENTEGG is most often used for natural fermenting of white wines. Should budget or space be a constraint, the FERMENTEGG offers a good compromise (vs concrete egg-shaped tanks), by offering similar benefits at a fraction of the cost. The shape allows for vortex formation during fermentation and it keeps the lees in suspension with all the associated benefits. The tanks might not have the same thermal qualities as concrete, but they are easy to move, the smooth internal surfaces can be sanitized easily, there are no evaporation, no off-flavour compounds and no interference with the acidity or pH of the wine. It typically adds structure and complexity and assists to maintain minerality.
For more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG7QRfOjpP4