Skip to main content

Eco-innovative maceration system based on LFHP ULTRAsound technology for WINEmaking

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ULTRAWINE (Eco-innovative maceration system based on LFHP ULTRAsound technology for WINEmaking)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-06-30

The colour of the wine is one of the organoleptic parameters most valued by consumers, since it gives information about its vinification, evolution and the defects that it can present. Over time and due to oxidation processes, white wines evolve into softer tones such as golden yellow. The same happens with the brightness in red and rosé wines.

Of particular interest is the colour in red and rosé wines, due to the economic resources to be used for the extraction of the phenolic compounds from the skins of the grapes. These substances do not only influence the colour but also contribute to the flavour and the aftertaste or the body.
Due to the mechanization of the harvest, the wineries collect a large quantity of grapes in a very short period of time. Harvesting process have been reduced from over two months to about four weeks. As a result, winemakers need tools to process all the raw material quickly, as well as to produce high-quality wines.

AGROVIN has developed a leading technique, based on ultrasonics, that allows the total extraction of the polyphenolic and aromatic potential of the grape in a record time without modifying the organoleptic characteristics of the resulting wine.
In 2015, AGROVIN received the approval by the European Commission of the project ULTRAWINE under Horizon 2020 SME INSTRUMENTS phase II.
Throughout these two years of Project, a versatile equipment has been designed and manufactured, able to adapt to all types of wineries due to its two working systems: in continuous, for those wineries that have a large facilities, or in recirculation, for smaller wineries. In addition, its construction in modules of 50 kW, allows the client to purchase a customised equipment, depending on the daily input of red grape.

Experiences with ULTRAWINE's final prototype have yielded exceptional results in different grape varieties and in different wine-growing areas. Generally, for those varieties whose phenolic maturation index is optimal, after ultrasonic treatment only 1 day of maceration was required, while grapes that were not treated with ultrasound required a maceration period of 7/8 days. All this has been made possible due to the optimization of both the Extraction System and the ULTRAWINE equipment during these 2 years of Project. The hardware, software and cavitation cells of the ULTRAWINE device has been upgraded.

The training of the commercial network of AGROVIN on ultrasound in vinification processes and the dissemination of technology have been two fundamental pillars of the Project. The commercial training has been carried out worldwide. In terms of dissemination, various platforms have been used: specialist magazines of the sector, digital magazines, social networks, national and international specialized fairs, visits and live demonstrations on several wineries, etc.
The work done was divided into 6 work packages:
WP1. Optimization of process variables and study the effect on microbial load of musts.
Experiments have been carried out on different grape varieties to verify the extraction of polyphenolic and aromatic compounds. The influence of ultrasound on the microbial population was also studied.

WP2. Quality analysis of the must and wines obtained with ULTRAWINE technology
With the objective of obtaining results that could be compared with other techniques used in the sector, wine was produced with ultrasound technology and in a traditional way. It was found that ultrasound significantly accelerates the extraction of polyphenolic compounds from the red grape skins, mainly anthocyanins and tannins. In addition, the ultrasound produces a greater aromatic extraction and an improvement in the clarification of the treated must, compared to the traditional form of elaboration.

WP3. Scale up and industrialization
All the information extracted from WP1 and WP2 has served to design a versatile and effective equipment valid for the different types of warehouses.
As a result of a thorough study, we observed the need to install accessories that allow ULTRAWINE to operate efficiently for 24 hours, safely and without further wear of the equipment. Several improvements were made thanks to the technology validation in a collaborating winery.

WP4. Maximizing ULTRAWINE impact
This WP has led to the certification with CE Marking, and we have filled patent application in the main wine-producing countries. Besides, in the reported period we have given important steps towards the authorization of ULTRAWINE technology by the OIV.

WP5. Dissemination and exploitation
The actions that have been and will continue to be carried out are:
• Training the AGROVIN's commercial department: they must be well prepared to give accurate information regarding the technology.
• Presentation to winemakers in their own wineries, so that they know first-hand the technology and the possibilities that it offers in their productive process.
• Participation in the main forums and fairs of the sector both nationally and internationally.
• Appearance in the main media, especially technical journals specialized in the sector.
• Social networks: comments are continuously broadcast on the main social networks.

WP6. Project management
We have received the visit of the Project Officer, who was able to observe in detail the ULTRAWINE equipment in our facilities, as well as taste the wines resulting from the last harvest.
The coaching sessions served to acquire tools to study potential markets from a different perspective, create business strategies, mitigate the weaknesses of the project coordinator ...
ULTRAWINE is a unique production system in the market that offers the oenologist excellent results for several reasons:
• Time saving process: with ULTRAWINE, the extraction process is completed in a few hours, while maceration takes several days. Thus, the improvement of the process efficiency, with respect to maceration, is more than evident.
• Cold extraction method: there is not a temperature increase during the treatment, and no hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) production.
• Low energy consumption: the energy consumption by an average process is estimated in 30 kWh calculated for the standard ULTRAWINE device, with an output power of 50 kW. Our device presents significant energy advantages when compared to the other alternatives since it does not require refrigeration as in cryomaceration processes (cold production is one of the most expensive processes of the food industry) and it does not require heating, such as in Thermovinification or Flash-deténté processes.
• More aromatic wines: ultrasounds yield a greater extraction of the aromatic precursors within the grape. The fermentative yeasts will have a better access to these compounds to transform them in aromas highly valued by consumers.
• Faster clarifications: wines elaborated from musts treated with ultrasound clarify faster and more compactly, which increases the liquid yield of the product.
• Environmental friendly technology: no waste products specific to ULTRAWINE technology are produced.

Due to all the aforementioned advantages compared to other technologies, the viability of ULTRAWINE is assured. In addition, the application of this technology in sectors different from wine (such as the aromatized beverage sector) is already being considered due to the excellent extraction of aromatic compounds by ultrasound.