Winebusiness.com - Homepage for the Wine Industry

Flash Détente Comes to Lodi: Della Toffola Unit Deployed for 2010 Crush


Date: 10/17/10

Lodi Vintners, a custom crush facility in Woodbridge, California, is now the second winemaking facility in North America to operate a thermal flash unit for crushing grapes, a unit made by Italian supplier Della Toffola Group in a partnership with Hahn Estates for the 2010 crush.

Though flash units are used widely in Europe, South America and Australia, the technology is new in the U.S. Sixty flash units have been set up throughout the world. The first commercial unit in the U.S. was installed just prior to the 2009 crush at Monterey Wine Company. The unit in Monterey is made by the Pera of France and can process 20 tons an hour.

“It’s crazy that California hasn’t had this technology before,” Barry Gnekow, senior winemaking consultant with Hahn Estates said. “We’re supposed to be the technical leaders in the world, and we didn’t know this existed until a-year-and-a half ago."

The technology involved in is a vacuum chamber that hot grapes are pumped into. Water associated with the skins of the grapes immediately “flashes” into steam, hence the term flash. The vacuum explodes the vacuoles in the skins of the grapes, leading to an immediate extraction of color from red grapes. Pyrazines come off with the flash water. Water that is “flashed off” in the vacuum chamber and re-condensed is loaded with those pyrazines so there is a decrease in “vegetal” character of the wines.

The new unit in Lodi is made by Della Toffola and can process 30 tons an hour.

Gnekow expects a lot of interest in it, especially in a year like this. “A lot of people will want to run fruit through it because the grapes are really struggling to get sugar,” he said. “It can do so many things, but it removes those green, bell pepper notes that are a problem, and it knocks off the mold and botrytis. We’re going to have those this year.”

Researchers with UC Davis are interested in samples of the wines processed with the flash unit and hope to generate some data. A major commercial wine laboratory is interested in generating data for winemakers on how flash knocks out botrytis, molds, and drops the microbiological loads of incoming grapes.

Flash helps increase sugar levels in wines because it removes 6 to 7 percent of the water. Though the technology was initially developed for grapes with “problems” it has shifted to being used in areas such as Bordeaux where there are issues attaining ripeness some years.

“The real problems winemakers are dealing with this year are horrendous,” Gnekow said. “This can help mitigate a lot of that. At the end of the day, (flash) makes a better wine.”

Michela Della Toffola said her company has manufactured flash units for 15 years with installations in Australia, South Africa, China, France and Italy. In Tuscany Villa Banfi operates a unit. The flash unit in Lodi, which cost approximately $1 million, was manufactured in Italy and in South America where labor costs are lower.

Why did it take so long for flash to be deployed in the U.S.? “Good question,” Della Taffola said. “Actually we did some trials in 2001 with a small pilot unit at the University in Fresno with other winemakers, but it was too early.”

A test unit is currently being evaluated by Vincor in Canada through WIne Secrets.

“We are really liking it.,” Lodi Vintners general manager Tyson Rippey said. “It’s been a learning curve. There’s only two in the country, so it’s not like you can just find an operator by putting an ad on winejobs.com.”

“There’s so many different ways you can use this unit, it’s almost like the possibilities are endless. Some of our clients today were flashing the fruit, and shipping as must, and we can flash and press it and ship it as juice. The winemakers we work with all seem to think its doing a really great job."

Rippey said there’s a strong possibility another flash unit will be installed at the Carneros Vintners custom crush facility in Sonoma County. “It’s going to be interesting to see how the North Coast winemakers react to this process and whether they’re open to it or not.”

How winemakers will use flash will evolve over time. Gnekow compared the possibilities the new machine offers to a stove in the kitchen, saying, “It’s not the stove, it’s how the chef operates it.”

 

Website: http://www.dellatoffola.it/
img 1
img 2

submit supplier news

Submit your press release and photo to suppliernews @winebusiness.com

wines & vines directory

Search wineries, growers, distributors, and industry suppliers in North America

latest used barrels

- used barrels  •  yesterday at 8:02AM PST
- used barrels  •  yesterday at 8:02AM PST
- used barrels  •  yesterday at 8:02AM PST
- used barrels  •  Dec 17, 2014 at 8:43AM PST
- used barrels  •  Dec 17, 2014 at 4:20AM PST

latest real estate

- real estate  •  7 hours ago
- real estate  •  Dec 10, 2014 at 9:31AM PST
- real estate  •  Dec 2, 2014 at 9:34AM PST
- real estate  •  Nov 28, 2014 at 2:29PM PST
- real estate  •  Nov 25, 2014 at 9:51AM PST

latest used equipment

- used equipment  •  yesterday at 3:23PM PST
- used equipment  •  yesterday at 3:23PM PST
- used equipment  •  yesterday at 3:23PM PST
- used equipment  •  yesterday at 9:40AM PST

latest services & supplies

- services & supplies  •  yesterday at 7:36AM PST
- services & supplies  •  Dec 16, 2014 at 12:55PM PST
- services & supplies  •  Dec 15, 2014 at 11:21AM PST
- services & supplies  •  Dec 13, 2014 at 6:52AM PST
- services & supplies  •  Dec 13, 2014 at 6:52AM PST

Copyright© 1994-2014 by Wine Communications Group. All Rights Reserved. Copyright protection extends to all written material, graphics, backgrounds and layouts. None of this material may be reproduced for any reason without written permission of the Publisher. Wine Business Insider, Wine Business Monthly, Grower & Cellar News and Wine Market News are all trademarks of Wine Communications Group and will be protected to the fullest extent of the law.