Winemakers producing premium wines know that wine quality is dependent upon the efficient removal of fruit from the vine and preparing the berries for destemming, a critical process requiring high-end, sophisticated, and reliable grape handling equipment.
Jeff Pisoni, Winemaker at Pisoni Vineyards, had been looking to upgrade their previous destemmer for quite some time. “There was a lack of innovation in destemmers for a while,” comments Pisoni. “Purchasing new processing equipment is a big investment and long-term commitment, so we were waiting for the next generation of destemmers to come to market since destemming and sorting is such a critical part of the winemaking process.”
When new destemmers did start to become available, it was clear they all had the common goal of giving wineries a very clean destemming process with as little MOG (material other than grapes) as possible. However, only the Armbruster Rotovib Destemmer delivered a few key critical advantages for premium, whole berry destemming.
Armbruster, a German family-owned manufacturer of winery equipment for more than a century, developed the Armbruster Rotovib Destemmer with a Double Rollersorter to deliver an astonishingly gentle destemming process that’s become a game changer for wine producers around the globe. With the help of Scott Laboratories, the Rotovib with Double Rollersorter hit the North American wine market in 2017 and Pisoni became an early adopter, purchasing their first Rotovib for the winery shortly thereafter in 2018.
“About fifteen years ago, Armbruster came up with a new generation of machines to destem more gently by attaching a vibration motor onto a pin shaft, which allowed the shaft to slow down and not beat up the fruit as it went through the destemmer,” explains Ira Cohen, Scott Labs’ Equipment Sales Manager. “This was the first iteration of the Rotovib, and the result was a twenty to fifty percent increase in whole berries, which really caught the interest of premium Pinot Noir producers, especially in Sonoma County.”
Cohen notes that the latest version of the Rotovib with a Double Rollersorter consists of two separate beds of interlacing rubber spools that rotate on adjustable shafts. Grapes fall through the spaces on the first bed, while jacks, stems and other debris get carried away to a discharge chute. The second rollersorter bed has tighter spacing to remove any remaining raisins, shot berries or small particles.
After purchasing the first Rotovib for the winery, Pisoni noticed a clear difference in the quality of wines—in sensory of aromatic and tannin properties—before and after using the destemmer, as compared to previous vintages.
The Rotovib’s key advantages include:
- A reduced footprint—setup and installation can be customized based on each winery’s production facility to save space
- Cost savings—additional sorting equipment or personnel are not needed to do berry sorting thanks to the Double Rollersorter
- Less noise—the German engineering behind the Rotovib provides quiet machine operations
- Ultra-clean fruit—the Rotovib with Double Rollersorter provides the gentlest handling of fruit with minimal amounts of stems and seeds, leaving whole berries intact
Pisoni recently bought a second Armbruster Rotovib with a Double Rollersorter for Gravity Wine House, their custom crush business.
“It’s a very flexible piece of equipment,” Pisoni enthuses. “The Rotovib is great with Pinot Noir, and because it works superbly with other varietals, we purchased the same thing for our custom crush facility. Cabernet producers love it since the Double Rollersorter can essentially act like a berry sorter, which is a common part of the grape handling process with high-end cabs.”
The innovation behind the Rotovib’s unique vibrating technology has resulted in over 350 installations of the destemmer throughout North America. With expert technical support and service from Scott Labs’ senior technicians, wineries can also receive technical training, hands-on support, and service before, during and after harvest to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal downtime.
For more information and orders, go to https://shop.scottlab.com/armbruster-crush-equipment.