Re: "TW" reefer designation

John Nehrich <nehrij@...>

I understand that part of the fermetation process are the development of
aldehydes, which are bitter, but allowing the wine to "breathe" lets them
oxidize. Although around c. 1940 there are the multi-dome/multi-compartment
wine tank cars, which must have had a metal liner.
But if the TW cars were converted in '35-'36, that doesn't leave much
time for them to run under the billboard schemes that Red Caboose shows (not
that there was that much time between the end of Prohibition and the
billboard ban anyway).
Also, as bulk wine cars rather than shipping cartons of it in RB cars,
the cars would need to go to bottling plants, not just some wholesale
distributor or even in the more remote possibility of a team track (on a
layout just to justify these cars) ?
- John Nehrich

----- Original Message -----
From: "Garth G. Groff" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2000 8:09 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] "TW" reefer designation

Dick and John,

At the time these cars were converted (the late 1930s), wood was the
only commonly used material for cooperage in the California wine
industry. Although glass-lined tanks were in common use for milk, they
were still on the far horizon for wine producers. Stainless steel was
pretty new and wouldn't make much of an appearance in the wine industry
until the 1960s.

Wood "breathes" (just like the cork in a good bottle of wine), and this
allows the wines to improve by gentle oxidation. Oak, was and still is,
the most commonly used wood for wine. It adds tannic acid, necessary for
giving red wines and Chardonnays their complex flavors. Redwood is
chemically neutral and is preferred for aging fruity reds and most white
wines. Redwood lends itself more to upright storage vats than horizontal
aging barrels. Stainless steel and glass are not only chemically
neutral, but don't breathe either, so they add nothing to the wine.

We have no details on the wood used for the cooperage in these cars, but
my best guess is that they were probably oak.

Kind regards,

Garth G. Groff

Dick Harvey wrote:


Wooden tanks sounds good to me. Wine loves that stuff.

There is a page in the PFE book that gives the history of those cars,
I believe that is where Bill McClung got the idea and data for doing

Dick Harley

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