Winemaking involves many time-consuming steps that require attention and care, from crushing the grapes to bottling. Australian regulations have strict hygiene standards that must be adhered to, and producing high-quality products is paramount. Additionally, winemakers are focused on optimising their time and efforts, making it essential to track the volume of wine produced accurately. Flow meters play a crucial role in automating this process.
The Stages of Winemaking
There are five critical stages in the winemaking process:
1. Harvesting Grapes: Harvesting is done either by hand or mechanically. The grapes are sorted into groups upon arrival at the winery, and any rotten or unripe grapes are removed.
2. Crushing & Pressing: The grapes are destemmed and crushed. The grapes are quickly crushed and pressed for white wine to separate the juice from the skins, seeds, and solids. On the other hand, red wine is left in contact with the skin to extract flavour and colour.
3. Fermentation: During fermentation, sugar is converted into alcohol. Dry wine is produced when all the sugar is fermented, while sweet wine is created by stopping the fermentation process before all the sugar is converted. Fermentation can take anywhere from 10 days to over a month.
4. Clarification: This process removes solids such as dead yeast cells, tannins, and proteins. Wine is transferred or “racked” into different vessels, such as oak barrels or stainless steel tanks, and can be clarified through filtration.
5. Aging & Bottling: Winemakers have two options: bottle the wine immediately or allow it to age further. Aging can occur in bottles, stainless steel tanks, or oak barrels.
Bottling Wine & Flow Meters
Wine bottle fillers are commonly used in the final step of the winemaking process, especially in commercial wineries. These fillers have a nozzle for easy insertion into the bottle, with connected tubing that utilizes a vacuum pump to move the wine from the container into the bottles. An ultrasonic flow meter can be employed to monitor the amount of fluid being dispensed into each bottle and the flow rate to ensure accurate and efficient bottling. This technology alerts users automatically when the bottle is filled, preventing overfilling and saving valuable time and resources.
Manuflo offers a range of inline (contact) flow meters and clamp-on (non-contact) flow sensors designed to monitor flow in various applications. In the food and beverage market, especially for winemaking, non-contact or disposable sensors are ideal for maintaining hygiene standards while effectively monitoring the flow of liquids.
In conclusion, flow meters play a vital role in the winemaking process, ensuring accurate tracking of wine volume during bottling. With adherence to Australian regulations and reliable flow measurement technology from Manuflo, winemakers can produce high-quality wines efficiently while meeting hygiene standards and maximising their time and efforts.