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Collaboration May Be the Key to Problem Solving and Innovative Success for Wineries


As most seasoned winemakers know, each harvest season can bring new and unusual challenges. Issues with color, clarity, or aroma and perfecting the ideal flavor profile can come with challenges. These process challenges often occur as wineries are also facing industry challenges. Wineries are part of a broader beverage industry where consumers see wine as one of many options for a drinking occasion. This competition pushes wineries to collaborate and innovate with industry partners on the products they create and how they market. Innovation can be challenging, and wineries receive support from collaborations with industry partners such as Gusmer to explore new methods, analyze their wine products and find creative solutions for their most pressing challenges.

Customers go to Gusmer for analytical lab services and application support, which helps improve their process, achieve higher yields, and make better wine. Gusmer’s Napa and Windsor locations offer a variety of wine analyses, including wine, juice, bottling panels, sugars, and microbiological testing. 

“Our labs are unique because we take a collaborative approach,” says Kevin Wiens, Technical Services/Lab Manager Gusmer Napa. “Customers can access our chemists to consult on a remedy or enhance their quality. They might want to decrease tannin, so we’ll do a sensory analysis to help them. We always provide feedback and offer ideas.”

Wiens may run filterability bench trials to provide a filterability index or calculate the flow rate by processing a Gusmer filter with the customer’s sample to determine their filter’s life span, which is less expensive than learning through trial and error.

“I’m not aware of any other commercial labs that offer the filterability service for sheets and Cellu-stacks that Gusmer does,” says Ivonne Dresser, Director of Applications and Fermentation at Gusmer Enterprises. “We’re here to support and collaborate with our technical sales team. We provide data and facts so they, in turn, can guide their wine customers to the right product and dosage recommendations.”

Gusmer’s application support team in Fresno, CA, is critical to provide customer service with knowledge. Application Support Manager Jasmin Sahota says, “Our team provides technical support to customers by defining their issues, testing and evaluating whether a Gusmer product will help resolve the problem, which can be complex.”

Sahota’s team often works primarily with fermentation optimization and upstream and downstream fermentation-specific issues and filtration optimization, such as helping winemakers improve their wines’ flavor, aroma profile, or clarity.

“Many of our customers use our granular oak adjuncts,” Sahota adds, “and we can test its effect on customers’ wines, then send the samples back to them for sensory evaluation to be sure they’re getting the desired flavor and profile.”

Ivonne Dresser leads the Gusmer Fermentation and Innovation Center in Santa Rosa, which opened in 2021, where her team focuses on product development using precision fermentation bioreactors and sophisticated analytical capabilities.

“Our innovation team supports customers across and outside the beverage industry who use or want to use fermentation in their products,” Dresser notes.

“We collaborate with customers creating new beverage types,” says Dresser. “They may be using a completely new yeast, bacteria strain, or fruit, so fermentation must be perfectly controlled to evaluate the effect of different variables on the fermentation.”

When the Innovation Center works on these projects, it evaluates the potential value of new technologies or other tools to wineries. It shares this learning with the other teams —Application Support in Fresno and Lab Services in Napa and Windsor—who use it to support local customers as part of Gusmer’s culture of Service with Knowledge.

For over 100 years, Gusmer has been the go-to provider in the wine industry. Gusmer’s analytical services, application support, and Fermentation and Innovation Center teams have expertise in analytical chemistry, enology, microbiology, food science, and applied biotechnology, and they are expert problem-solvers. The long-term collaborative relationships that Gusmer builds with wine industry partners will continue to foster innovation and provide value for their customers. 

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