Automation in the winemaking lab has become a mainstay in our busy times. Big wineries have teams of enologists and banks of automated measurement tools, while small wineries often send testing out to labs that employ these same devices. Winemakers doing the lab work themselves and those utilizing external lab services often don’t realize how beneficial it can be to have an automated lab testing device in-house.
The primary benefit is the consistency of the testing procedure, which lets winemakers make decisions with the confidence that each test was conducted precisely the same way across vintages, technicians and locations.
“Quality control is essential in the wine lab,” says Calvin Watkins, a product manager at Gusmer Enterprises, a winery supplier and manufacturer. “Traditionally, chemicals can vary depending on who is doing the test. Human error can create inconsistency from test to test, introducing imprecision into the winemaking process and impacting the final quality of the wine.”
Gusmer Enterprises partnered with CDR Foodlab in May to bring an analytical lab tool to their winery customers, becoming the exclusive US distributor of the CDR WineLab® analyzer and reagent (test) kits.
“We partnered with CDR to help our wine customers analyze wine conveniently and simply,” Watkins adds. “CDR manufactures their chemical agent kits, and they’re all validated, passing QC before leaving the factory, which brings consistency and repeatability to the process. So it’s a closed system where everything comes from the same company.”
A device like CDR WineLab® brings efficiency along with consistency. Enology tests can take up to a half-hour to complete, and chemicals can vary depending on who is doing the testing. With CDR WineLab®, chemical analysis takes only 10 minutes or less. Other tools like spectrometers can do secondary analysis, while CDR WineLab® lets the winemaker do the actual chemistry, delivering better resolution on sugar, acid and other tests.
It is also versatile, letting the winemaker choose from among 20 or more tests, use the same sample for several different analyses or perform 16 different assays simultaneously for the same parameter on a batch of different samples. For example, in a single 10-minute testing session, the Multitasking Mode determines the wine’s complete analytical profile, including sugars, pH, total acidity, acetic, L-malic and L-Lactic acid, free and total SO2 and ABV. CDR WineLab® does the basic tests most labs need, plus tests most labs haven’t considered, like gluconic acid, an indication of noble rot in grapes, or yeast-assumable nitrogen (YAN). These more advanced tests can add value without requiring extra time or specialized equipment.
Finally, CDR WineLab® is convenient. All chemicals are pre-packaged and pre-dosed in the correct concentrations, so everything needed is in one kit. The only thing the winemaker or lab tech needs to do is mix the chemicals with the sample using a pipette, incubate, and read. Every machine and reagent kit is consistent, so a winery with multiple locations can place one on every site and be confident that the same QC is employed regardless of the operator. Test results are displayed on the screen and stored for easy export via USB directly to the computer or a flash drive.
“CDR found shorter chemical pathways for efficiency,” says Watkins. “You’re just adding A to B and putting them into a photometer held at a steady 37°C temperature to measure it at specific wavelengths, yielding very consistent chemistry. The only error you can introduce is if you make a mistake in the procedure. But if you can use a pipette, this machine will work for you.”
The CDR WineLab® brings consistency, speed and conveniences to your winemaking lab, letting you make winemaking decisions more quickly and confidently. There’s a place for this affordable solution in wineries of all sizes and stages of growth. A winery just starting out can afford this comprehensive solution, while a winemaker with only a few tools can add more range — perhaps the ability to measure sulfur in less than 15 minutes with consistency. A mid-sized winery with some automated equipment can afford a tool to double-check results or provide backup, and a large winery will benefit from a machine that offers consistent measurement across locations and technicians.
For additional information or to receive a quote on the CDR WineLab® please contact your local Gusmer Enterprises sales representative or learn more about the CDR WineLab® please visit Gusmer Enterprises.