Success with optical grape sorters

Posted on January 10, 2012

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Destemmed fruit entering a Pellenc's Vision optical sorter during the 2011 harvest at Vina Montes in Chile

For a host of reasons, including the simple truth that sorting is a winemaker’s last opportunity to improve quality, optical sorters are giving producers of all sizes more control over the timing and speed at which harvest occurs.

With optical grape sorting technology at work in many of the world’s leading wine-producing
regions, mechanization is beginning to take on a new meaning – one that is more aligned with
quality gains than with the cost-saving measures historically associated with mechanical harvesting. Although optics are one of the newest processing technologies for wine grapes, there is already plenty of anecdotal and empirical data available which demonstrates that, for many producers, optical sorting is a faster, more efficient and potentially less costly alternative to hand sorting.

Optical sorting technology itself is far from being new. It was used by the food processing industry for more than 30 years before it was adapted and widely marketed for wine grapes in 2008. Over the last several years, field trials conducted in France, Italy, Argentina, Chile and California by several manufacturers have been conclusive; winemakers have been quick to acknowledge benefits of optical sorting,and early adopters are buying in. While ownership might not be feasible for smaller producers, renting or leasing an optical sorter could soon be as commonplace as using a mobile bottling line. Complete article here Optical grape sorters improve wine quality