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New Machine Speeds Maceration Process

by Kerana Todorov
July 08, 2019
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Dr. Richard Smart stands next to Della Toffola's ACE machine that accelerates maceration. Kerana Todorov/Wine Business Monthly

A new Italian machine is being introduced in the United States to reduce maceration time and boost texture color and flavors.

The new machine by Della Toffola reduces maceration time by up to 50 percent and improves the extraction of polyphenols and anthocyanin. Viticulturist Richard Smart, a consultant based in the United Kingdom, on July 2 stopped by Della Toffola’s Santa Rosa offices to make a presentation on the new winemaking technology which he said makes better wine faster.

Smart explained the research of fellow Australian Angela Sparrow, work that eventually led to the development of the Della Toffola Maceration Accelerator. Like a blender, the machine cuts grape skin fragments, increasing the number of cut edges from where tannins and color compounds leak, speeding the maceration process. The technique is known as “Accentuated Cut Edges” or ACE technology.

Sparrow said in an email she conducted trials with ACE beginning in 2012 while she worked on her doctorate in Australia. She later experimented with an ACE research prototype machine in Australia and New Zealand. She wanted to improve color stability in Pinot Noir wine, she said. Her research had found that tannin from the skin better stabilized wine color than tannins from the seeds. However, removing seeds from grapes is very difficult, she said.

Working with Smart and another scientist, Bob Dambergs, Sparrow concluded that by cutting up grape skins, tannins and color pigments would “leak out of the broken skin edges much faster than they diffuse out from crushed skins.” The technique was also effective on grape varieties other than Pinot Noir.

Sparrow, who operates Vinventive, a Tasmania-based wine research consultancy business, collaborated with Della Toffola engineers and winemakers to develop a commercial ACE machine and worked on commercial trials in Australia, New Zealand and Italy.

“In all of the trials conducted, we found that the extraction of color, flavor and tannin components was greatly increased using ACE maceration,” Sparrow wrote from Fiji where she volunteers. “Not only was the quality of these attributes strengthened, but the time normally required to ferment the wine in specialized fermentation tanks could be reduced to half. Winemakers also reported that the use of ACE maceration increased the volume of free run wine and made pressing easier.”

Della Toffola expects two machines this year to conduct trials at wineries in the North Bay. Wineries interested in participating in the trial should contact Della Toffola either at or call 707-544-5300

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