Every year new and innovative products are introduced at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium. This year’s virtual format made the usual exploration and discovery of the trade show floor a little less exciting without being able to hold the new products in hand or look under the proverbial hood. Nevertheless, there were some exciting new finds, and here are five that you may have missed as you browsed the virtual ailes.
BarrelWise is a barrel management solution that allows you to treat each barrel to its specific needs while also protecting the wine and saving time and labor. The system consists of a specially designed bung that does not have to be removed from the barrel for testing and topping, a cart with analyzer and hose attachment to access the wine through the bung, and software that lets you track and treat individual barrels’ evaporation rates and sulfur levels.
The system is optimized for labor savings; barrel measurements are taken on the spot at the barrel without removing the bung and exposing the wine. The cellar worker can then immediately top it off as needed, and if the free sulfur measurement falls below the winemaker’s desired levels automatically add the prescribed amount of sulfur at the same time.
Preliminary data collected by BarrelWise shows that some barrels are significant outliers from group sample average in terms of sulfur and evaporation, so individualizing the barrel testing and treatment can save some wine from falling below quality thresholds and perhaps needing to be downgraded to a cheaper wine.
The individual measuring of the barrels’ performance is mapped by the software, so that the winery can see how different cellar locations and barrel-makes perform and possibly use that information in their storage and barrel purchasing decisions.
New Boisé® Inspiration Staves from Vivelys
Again adding to their range of French oak precision winemaking tools, Vivelys introduced two new 7mm staves, #07.V0 and #07.FR. These staves differ from the previously released staves in the Inspiration line by being untoasted or only very lightly toasted and focused on enhancing the freshness and fruitiness of the wine without toasted or smoky flavors.
The #07.V0 oak stave is not toasted, and it intensifies the ripe fruity aroma of wine increasing the volume and structure in mouthfeel. The #07.FR oak stave amplifies the fresh fruity expression of wines along with a reinforced structure and vivacity. The two staves can also be used to balance the profile of grapes that suffered low or medium smoke exposure.
The new staves’ consistent flavor profiles are made possible by Boisé’s analytical sorting of the raw oak and the precise heat process combined with Vivelys’ extensive knowledge of the interaction between oak and wine to ensure the consistent performance and accurate oak profiles.
Boisé also introduced three 20mm French oak toasted barrel inserts; #20.1 iN vanilla style, a #20.3 iN spicy style and a #20.5 iN toasty style. These match the flavor profiles of previously released staves and are designed to extend the life of used wine barrels, saving wineries money on barrel purchases.
Artificial Intelligence Membrane Press by Della Toffola
Della Toffola has built on their existing central membrane press technology by adding artificial intelligence to make their presses even more efficient, time-saving, and highly automated. The sophisticated sensors and AI removes the guesswork and micromanagement of pressing to deliver a higher quality product faster.
The weight sensors allow the press to automatically distribute the grapes evenly in the press making the loading faster and simpler. Then the winemaker simply selects the color he wants his juice to come out, and the AI optimizes the pressing to achieve that result with minimal rotations, making the process gentler and faster.
Della Toffola offers presses with different capacities, but encourages their clients to think about tons per hour needed to press, rather than press size. Multiple large or small presses can be set up for continuous pressing taking turns moving through pressing and cleaning cycles. This way, limited personnel can manage ongoing pressing and increase efficiency further, processing more tons per hour with less labor.
Sentia™ by Universal Biosensors
Launched in the US at the Unified Symposium and the first shipment arriving later this month from Australia, Sentia is a brand new wine analyzer. This handheld device uses technology adapted for the wine industry from Universal Biosensors’ medical diagnostic instruments to create an easy to use tool that anyone can operate.
The first test available with Sentia works without reagents using square wave voltammetry and an 8 microliter wine sample to measure free sulfur. Testing takes less than 60 seconds to complete, making it useful for immediate corrective action at the barrel, tank, or on the bottling line. Up to 1,000 test results can be stored in the device, and the data is transferred wirelessly to your computer.
New software currently in development will automatically update Sentia to include new enzymatic testing capabilities for glucose, fructose, and malic acid later in 2021. The software auto-calibrates, so all the user has to do is apply the correct testing strip.
Universal Biosensors worked with twelve Australian wineries to test and adapt this technology to the wine industry’s specific needs, so that they could deliver this easy to use tool at the accessible price point of $1,950 and available through Enartis US.
Epiq by Ganau
Ganau is the first cork company to adopt a mass spectrometry method combined with chemical ionization to detect TCA in cork. The technology, developed by Switzerland-based Tofwerk, is five times more sensitive than other detection methods and screens every cork in only 3 seconds each.
A peer-reviewed study published in Analytical Chemistry last year confirms that the method has a detection threshold of ≤0.5 ng/L 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole (TCA), which enables Ganau to produce their Epiq natural corks at this threshold, far below detection by human sensory perception or other detection methods currently in use.
The first of these machines is already installed at Ganau’s facility in Italy screening 25,000 corks per day. Any cork not meeting the threshold is granulated, cleaned and made into technical cork. The first shipment of Epiq corks will arrive in the US this month, and Ganau is already receiving enquiries from premium wineries who want to ensure the integrity of their product with this new enhanced standard. To keep up with demand, Ganau plans to ramp up production of Epiq corks further with the installation of a second machine toward the end of the year.
By Kim Badenfort