Ξ November 25th, 2009 | → 1 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, Technology, Wine News |
I have written extensively here on Cavitus, an Australian company on the cutting edge of High Power Ultrasonics (HPU). Long designed for the cleaning of wine barrels, the removal tartrate build-up and the elimination of living cultures of Brettanomyces, a new application has been recently discovered and patented, that of flavor and color extraction. Andrew Yap, former Roseworthy College and University of Adelaide wine science lecturer and presently director of Oenology and Industry Marketing at Cavitus wrote me about this.
“Our latest breakthrough is the use of HPU for colour and flavour extraction from red must immediately at crushing. We have being trialing the technology in 2008 and 2009. We have had many successful winery trials with Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes. In the 2010 vintage, wineries are planning to trial grape varieties, including Viognier, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, etc. The wines from treated musts have been stunning. The wines have now been formally tasted by more than 10 winemaking groups in Aust and CA and the Aust Wine Research Institue’s taste panel. In general, HPU-treated wines have better depth of colour, greater palate weight and structural and textural complexity. The treated wines also gained more quality points in a 20-point scale used in Wine Show scoring, according to the AWRI’s taste panel.”
In the September issue of Australia’s Wine Business Magazine (subscription required) was published a brief account of the serendipitous discovery. During the five years of working to refine HPU barrel cleaning technology, it was determined that there was, indeed, another benefit of HPU. As Prof. Yap writes,
“When applied to grape must, Cavitus grape colour and flavour extraction (GCFE) HPU increases red colour density and anthocyanin concentration by as much as 30%. It accelerates the transfer of flavour compounds, aroma and flavour precursors as well as tannins from grape skins from the cells into the juice. One of the positive aspects of Cavitus’ HPU is that as a non-thermal process it does not adversely impact the organoleptic properties of the must and final wine.” [emphasis added]
Why might this innovation be of great importance? It gives far greater flexibility to manage picking times. Indeed, with respect to Autralia, Prof. writes,
“The last few vintages have shown how climate change can radically effect quality. Using Cavitus’ GCFE, winemakers can pick grapes earlier as a risk management strategy to manage colour and flavour in the winery rather than trying to work with high alcohol levels.” [emphasis added]
Over the next month I will be posting occasional updates, specifically the primary research on GCFE. And a recent interview with Prof. Yap will be made available in the next week. For background reading on the barrel cleaning dimension of Cavitus’ technology please see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of last year’s October interview.