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Flotation observations in wine – Australia vintage 2018

Each vintage presents different challenges for wineries and flotation is no exception. Vintage conditions and fruit ripeness/ maturity, change the colloidal composition of the juice from year to year; so wineries who employ flotation to clarify their juice need to adjust the mixture and dosage rates of flotation aids. Lallemand has a range of both animal and non – animal flotation agents under the IOC brand that are available for different market needs and winemaking objectives. These flotation products are distributed throughout Australia by Winequip.

Flotation bentonites need to be of high purity with very low contents of sand. This high purity bentonite is able to work in the opposite direction (i.e. moving to the top of the tank) compared to traditional bentonites that are designed to settle.

Rob Gore (General Manager of Sales at Winequip) comments further on what is working well this year in a few different regions.

“This year we have seen a higher level of unstable proteins in juice making it harder to achieve desired levels of turbidity without the use of a flotation bentonite. I suggest rates have ranged from 100-500ppm depending on level of clarity, compaction and also the winemaker’s individual desire to achieve protein stability in juice.

Using BentUp provides negative charge to help remove unstable proteins. These proteins are always more easily removed in juice as opposed to wine, reducing the impact of high bentonite additions in wine”

Positive charged flotation aids need to have high electrical charge to be able to assist in the formation of stable hydrophobic floccules that lead to more effective and rapid flotation. IOC has a range of product options here; including traditional gelatin based products like GelUp and new non animal products from fungal chitin (QiUp) and pea protein (Inofine V). Rob explains more.

During V2017 I visited a number of wineries in the Languedoc and Provence regions. I witnessed a rapid shift to non-animal derived proteins to assist in flotation. This is being driven by major supermarket chains within the European community and as a result, the QiUp and Inofine V pea protein are now being readily used.

These supermarket requirements are now becoming prevalent for the major winemaking groups in Australia and New Zealand but there will soon be flow on effects for medium and smaller commercial wineries.

A number of leading wineries in Australia have progressed from commercial trials in 2017 taking the initiative to implement a 100% vegan friendly approach to V2018 utilising the QiUp and Inofine V products.

What we can confidently state now is that QiUp and Inofine products have been comparable in performance with animal derived additives whilst still remaining economically feasible to use”

For more information, please contact Winequip