New winemaking invention cuts up grapes resulting in brighter fruit and smoother tannins
Richard Smart is a leading global consultant on viticulture and is renowned for his innovative work on canopy manipulation to manage its effects on vineyard yield and quality. When one of the world’s top viticulturists comes to you with a fresh idea, you sit up and listen. That’s what happened at DELLA TOFFOLA when Smart approached them in 2019 for help in developing a cutting-edge winemaking tool.
As a leader in wine and beverage equipment design and manufacture, DELLA TOFFOLA was well placed to join Smart in this venture.
Oenological consultant and author Clark Smith tells the story of collaborating with Smart and the DELLA TOFFOLA team to develop the DELLA TOFFOLA Maceration Accelerator (DTMA), which speeds up maceration to activate the pressing stage and significantly improves the extraction of polyphenols and anthocyanins from the grapes.
“Richard called and asked me to join him at DELLA TOFFOLA. When I got there, he said, ‘I’m a viticulturist, not a winemaker. I shouldn’t be schooling you guys on making wine, but I had this idea.’ His idea was based on the principle that you can get a more elegant wine with more aromatic integration if you can make short tannins.”
Smith asserts that the best wines have short tannins, maybe 5 units or 6 units long. He uses Syrah as an example, noting it has softer tannins than Pinot Noir because it has six times more anthocyanins, the phenolic compounds responsible for red wine color and mouthfeel. If the wine has poor color, it can get long, coarse tannins and be much dryer in the mouth.
The task in front of Smart and DELLA TOFFOLA was to get more color out of the grape skins. To accomplish this, they had to overcome the grape’s natural wax cuticle exterior and the pectin coating the skin’s interior. When crushing grapes, these barriers slow the migration of color into the wine, requiring several days to extract it.
“Smart saw a little bit of color bleeding from the cut edges of the grape skin and said, ‘why don’t we accentuate the cut edges by chopping up the skins. but we don’t want to cut up the seeds when we do it.’ That was his inspiration,” Smith continues. “Together, they figured out a way to run a blender-like device to cut up the skins while using centrifugal force to push the heavier seeds away from the blade. That lets us chop that skin into 8 or 10 pieces, increasing the surface area of the grape skins in contact with the must by ten times, which yields a much richer color — and does it faster.” The result was the DELLA TOFFOLA Maceration Accelerator or DTMA for short.
The team tested the DTMA at nine wineries and found that it strengthened the overall sensory characteristics in the resulting wine and significantly enhanced five of the principal phenolic characteristics.
In December, the DELLA TOFFOLA management team and Rick Jones, Vinovation co-founder, will join Smith as he moderates the 2020 Studies on Accentuated Cut Edge Technology session at WIN Expo 2021. Participants will also be able to taste the DTMA impact on treated wine samples and controls.
“It’s fair to say that every winery should have access to this tool,” Smith concludes. “It’s inexpensive enough that they can buy it and do trials on all their wines to evaluate which are most improved.” In 2019, the DELLA TOFFOLA Maceration Accelerator was announced as the winner of the Innovation Award at SIMEI (the International Enology and Bottling Equipment Exhibition) in Milan, Italy.
For more information, visit the DELLA TOFFOLA team at BOOTH #454 at WINExpo in December 2nd, 2021 or check out their website at www.dellatoffola.us