Harvest is around the corner and wineries are preparing for the arrival of bins full to brimming with ripe grapes ready to crush, de-stem and press. That means it’s time to make sure all your winemaking supplies will be at hand when the crush swings into full gear.
In a typical year, you would check your supplies — everything from yeast to sulfur dioxide —and call your suppliers for understocked items. But nothing has been normal since the COVID-19 pandemic started disrupting business as usual. Many supply chains are stressed, resulting in supply shortages, shipping delays, and lack of inventory.
“At Scott Labs, we’ve seen a huge influx of winery customers scrambling for filters,” says Maria Peterson, Scott Labs’ Technical Filtration Expert. “And for something as critical as final filtration before bottling, it’s essential to ensure you have what you need, when you need it, without compromising quality.”
As a result, winemakers should ensure their filter supplier has a deep inventory that won’t run short midway through the season. Peterson warns that winemakers might find they can’t buy the filter type they need if they wait too long. Most winemakers won’t want to switch to another filter just because their typical filter of choice is not in stock. They know that substituting another filter without trialing it first could change their process and could impact the wine’s overall quality.
“In these times of global supply uncertainty, it has been great to work with the Scott Labs team,” comments Alison Rodriguez, Winemaker at The Hess Collection. “They are a supplier who has gone to extraordinary lengths to hedge against supply interruptions, and really has our back.”
Peterson also cautions winemakers about using a sub-quality filter, noting that “If it’s inexpensive, it likely hasn’t gone through a validation test and isn’t backed up with a titer reduction rating. That means you won’t have a consistent filtrate quality. It’s easy to feel some initial sticker shock with high-quality filters, but if you pay for quality, you’ll get more gallons through the filter. An inexpensive one may cost less to start but will end up costing you more in lost wine.” And potentially with hits on the bottling line.
“It’s not as simple as buying your filter based on just porosity alone,” Peterson explains. “There are many other variables to take into account when choosing the proper filter for your application.”
This is precisely why Scott Labs launched the ScottCart series of cartridge filters almost 10 years ago. In 2012, the company identified a gap in the market: wineries were paying high prices for filter membranes because the supply chain had too many layers, and each level added their costs and profits. Scott Labs decided there had to be a better way to bring filter media directly to the market, and instead went straight to the source. They found an ultra-premium filter manufacturer well-known in Europe but without a high profile in the US. Today, the resulting ScottCart line has a deep inventory of pre-filters and final filter cartridges available for the wine and specialty beverage industry. Plus, their team of technical filtration experts is there to help select the filter that best meets your needs, and to help troubleshoot prior cellar depth filtrations so that bottling day cartridges can perform at their peak.
“We switched to ScottCart cartridge filters for our bottling line over four years ago,” adds Rodriguez. “These filters perform to the exact same standard and quality as our previous supplier at a third of the price. Realizing 30% cost savings while maintaining quality is a terrific win for us.”
In staying true to their core values of education, honesty, and doing the right thing, Scott Labs has been a trusted supplier of filtration equipment and filter media with a vested interest in keeping customers happy long-term, helping to remove variables and complexity on the bottling line, and ensuring high quality filtration with optimal throughput.