Removal of lees from underneath wine to reduce wine movements and tank cleaning

Summary

Objectives

To develop a lees removal device that can be retrofitted to existing tanks.

Background

Racking wine off lees is the most basic method of wine clarification. Lees typically make up less than 5% of the tank volume, with the clear wine phase making up more than 95%. Instead of racking the large quantity of wine off the top of the lees, it would be more efficient to remove the small quantity of lees from underneath the wine. The wine could remain in the tank and a tank cleaning operation would be avoided.

The concept of removing less from underneath a clear wine appears not to have been developed in wine production. In other beverage production, tank design has been optimised for this step. This proposal is to use current winery tanks and develop a device to retrofit to the tanks.

Research approach

The project will start with an assessment of lees; this information is not available in the published literature. A laboratory scale device will be developed and tested followed by a prototype device and winery trials.

Industry benefits

This new device will allow more efficient racking. This will enhance the clarification process and improve overall efficiency for wineries by reducing the number of movements of wine.