Wednesday, November 14th 2018
Wine science-3
Published on March 18, 2014 0

Developments in Winemaking in the last decades

The developments can be explained with respect to the successive steps of winemaking.  The first step is selecting the grapes. Sorting tables are introduced to winemaking process in order to separate easily the best grapes from poorer ones. When there is no need for the whole bunch, de-stemming machines are usually used in combination with crushers instead of traditional food treading. In fortified winemaking, Robotic lagars and Cap Plungers were developed as an alternative to trodden in lagares in late 90’s.

In the next step of winemaking which is pressing, vertical screw presses have been traditionally used; yet they had the risk of oxidation of the liquid. With the invention of horizontal screw presses, the operation could be totally automated and the extracted liquid could be protected from oxidation by blanking the receival tray with inert gas. The more recent pneumatic press promises even higher quality of liquid. For large wineries, tank presses with have a fully enclosed vessel and continuous screw press, have the further advantage of speed.

It would not be too far fetched to claim that the use of stainless steel tanks and temperature controlled fermentation, which enabled cooling down the must, is one of the most influential developments in winemaking.  This development that initially took place in the hot climate country of Australia has changed the world map of white wine making radically.[1] Computer controlled and fully automated complex tanks that include rotofermenters are now available also for red wine production. Thanks to science, winemakers have learned the dangers of oxygen. In order to protect wine from oxidation, inert gases as well as antioxidants are frequently used.

Must adjustments are also very useful tools in modern winemaking in so far as they are used in a limited degree. Correction of vintage anomally is possible today by acidification, de-acidification, enrichment and must concentration. Scientific developments made possible the use of pure cultures of different strains of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which currently gave the winemakers the choice of cultural yeast for required wine style and for vintage conditions. In addition, fining agents that have been used for centuries were eliminated in virtue of the scientific and technological developments that revealed their danger to health. In traditional sparkling winemaking the riddling process to remove deposits were extremely slow and labour-intensive. The Cava industry developed the automatic riddling machine, which was adopted by traditional sparkling winemakers worldwide.

Wine science-2

Filtration is one of the most controversial topics in wine making. Depth filtration removes solid particles from the wine which had uncertanity concerning filtration efficiency, so membrane filters were developed to overcome this problem. With the development of cross- flow filters even the dirtiest of wine can be filtered to bottling standards in one pass. Ultrafiltration technique can even separate acids, sugars, colours, tannins so that it is possible to make different colours and different styles of wines from a single base wine.[2]

Reverse-osmosis is the latest high technological tool utilized mainly for alcohol reduction and must concentration. Reverse-osmosis can be used for the same purposes as vacuum evaporation by removing water from unfermented grape juice. High levels of volatile acidity can be reduced by using reverse osmosis such as reducing by ion exchange method. Also it is possible to remove brettanomyces spolaige from red wine by reverse-osmosis.[3]

New packaging materials have been introduced to the wine industry and alternative closures were developed after the musty taint bottles problem in 1960’s.[4] Modern bottling techniques eliminate microbial contamination and prevent second fermentation in bottle. Chemical analyses are made prior to bottling by various equipments such as a gas chromatograph and an atomic absorption spectrometer in laboratories. Through these analyses and modern bottling techniques, science and technology offer much more stable products to the wine industry.


[1] Dominé, André (2004), Wine,English Edition,Köneman: 2004

[2] Bird, David (2010), Understanding Wine Technology,p.194, DBQA Publishing, 2010

[3] Goode, Jamie (2005)Wine Science,Application of  Science in Winemaking, Mitchell Beazley, 2005

[4] Bird, David (2010), Understanding Wine Technology, p. 202

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