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April (No. 495)

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Australian wineries investing in 'new world' of ceramics

Trevor Wilson , Australian Winemakers

Aust Wine

Australian wineries investing in ‘New World’ of ceramics

Summary


The wine industry has been keenly seeking an alterative process in wine filtration. Filtration cartridges and the future use of carcinogenic diatomaceous earths will slowly be a winery practice of the past in Australia. Leading wineries are joining their European counterparts using the Della Toffola Ceramic Crossflow Filter. Ceramics have been used in petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries for more than 50 years. It was inevitable that ceramic membrane crossflow would soon dominate the Australian wine industry.

The successful move into ceramic membrane crossflow filtration by leading winemakers in Australia, notably McGuigan-Simeon at Loxton and Master Winemakers in the Yarra Valley, marks the inevitable shift of local winemakers to the highest quality end in filtration: ceramic membranes. Joining these enterprises, Casella Estate has ordered a 200sqm and 600sqm crossflow unit for delivery this April. These local customers signify a big pat on the back for the many months of demonstration work conducted by the team at Australian Winemakers and the manufacturer of this technology, Della Toffola.

Crossflow technology has been demonstrated extensively across all major wine groups in Australia over the last 12 months. With competing crossflow membranes, there are some restrictions as to the temperature at which the wine must be filtered, some restriction as to the limit of chemical sanitisation and the temperature of the water used to recover the membranes after filtration and fear of pressure hammers or over-pressure. At present we can ensure a life span of at least 10 years for Della Toffola ceramic membranes. I imagine that within the next few years we hope to see the same membrane life reach the longevity the pharmacy industry is experiencing with ceramics, and that is 15-20 years.

Best payback


Ceramic membrane crossflow technology uniquely provides a technology for winemakers that can potentially eliminate all batch processes currently being employed by large wineries today. With the most modern pressing technology, providing free-run juice with a maximum of 1% solids floatation and crossflow of white juice in a continuous manner, is very much a reality. Centrifugation of juice and most definitely wine is almost a thing of the past. A crossflow filtration system is a far more versatile investment for winemakers. The same membranes can be used for juice filtration during vintage, for the filtration of post-ferment wines, and has proven itself excellent for filtration post- or pre-cold stabilisation. The technology comes into its own as a media to handle wine ready for bottling.

Current trials are using the crossflow to filter directly into the filling bowl of bottling lines. This will be a significant step forward for wineries and bottling facilities with regards to cost savings on disposable filtration mediums.

NOTE: The complete article can be found in the April issue of The Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker.



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