Go with the flow

Posted on November 29, 2016

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To filter or not to filter? You’ll find winemakers in both camps. But when filtration is called for, cross flow technology is proving to be the best case scenario for leaving wine sitting pretty. Although there are scenarios where older filtration technologies like hardwood cellulose pads or diatomaceous earth (DE) are better suited to the task, the minimal risks and considerable rewards of state-of-the-art cross flow filtration are readily apparent in the cellar and in the glass.

“There’s a time and place for unfiltered wines,” says Gary Sitton, newly-appointed winemaker at Ravenswood Winery (Sonoma, Calif.), founded by winemaker Joel Peterson in 1976. “We view filtration as a tool that lets us guarantee the quality of our Vintners Blend and County Tier wines.” In an effort to work more sustainably in the cellar when filtration is necessary, winemakers like Sitton have found alternatives to crystalline silica-laden DE filtration, which requires workers to wear protective gear and to dispose of hazardous waste. “From a quality perspective, cross flow has let us move away from the use of pads and DE, and we’ve seen improvements across the board.”

With DE use on the decline, and ever-present concerns over oxygen pick-up and the replacement costs of filtration pads, the one- to two year return on investment that’s now being realized when using cross flow filtration for bottle polishing or lees recovery starts to pencil out. Massimo Pivetta, sales manager at Padovan Spa in Vittorio Veneto, Italy, observes, “A cross flow filter for lees recovery is a chief financial officer’s favorite purchase.” Read the full story here – gowiththeflow