A great tradition looking for that next cutting edge

Five Generations of this famous winemaking family have carved many notable industry achievements, always with the ability to implement positive widespread changes throughout the Australian wine industry.

Blair Hanel caught up with Tony ingle, its chief winemaker at Renmark and operations general manager Jim Godden to discuss the “process change” implemented in 2009 when Angoves embarked on a huge cultural paradigm shift by installing a Della Toffola CFKN 170 ceramic crossflow wine filter into its cellar environment.

1. You purchased the Della Toffola CFKN 170 crossflow filter in 2009 when the wine industry was evaluating the holistic concept of crossflow filtration – covering “perceived negative oenological impacts” such as the stripping of colour, flavours and also increasing temperature in wine.

  • Has Angoves noticed any changes in the past five years to the wines processed through this stream?
  • Please give us your thoughts on the above oenological impact/s on the wine.

Tony ingle: The Della Toffola crossflow has been a revelation for us; we have completely changed how wine is moved through the winery and throughout the clarification process. After some initial hesitance by the cellar staff, the Della Toffola crossflow was embraced and it is now seen as the only way to clarify our commercial wine. It is exceptionally easy to use and due to the intelligent Della Toffola system creates almost no retenate (waste).

The winemaking team has fallen in love with the machine:

  • There is no stripping apparent of flavour or colour
  • There is no pick up of Dissolved Oxygen throughout the process. “we are using the crossflow to clean up delicate products as well – such as preservative free and organic wines in on pass with great results”
  1. Within the crossflow filtration markets there are several different filtration media for specific filtration regimes to choose from – spiral wound, hollow fibre and ceramic. Della Toffola supplies the ceramic media within its machines – please explain the main driver for Angoves in adopting this type of technology.
  • Has the technology delivered what was promised?
  • What are the main advantages of using ceramics?

Tony ingle: The biggest advantage we saw from the outset was the idea the ceramic membranes used as the filter media within the Della Toffola machine have a longer working life than other technologies in the market place. we have seen how the membranes are extremely robust and the local service and back up we get from the Della Toffola engineers gives us great confidence in the system.

  1. The whole crossflow filtration concept is still hard for the 
winemaking fraternity to understand – please give us an understanding of this “tangential flow mechanism” used within the Della Toffola machines to filter wine.
  • How does this differ from normal filtration practices?
  • What size of micron is your filter rated at?
  • Has the outlet turbidity been consistent throughout operations?

Tony Ingle: The main difference between crossflow and traditional pressure leaf filtration is that crossflow is tangential – meaning it is no longer depth filtration but relying on a continuous flow at a certain pressure to sweep the surface clean. The differential pressure between the outside of the machine allows permeate (clean wine) to exit while the retentate continuous downstream. Eventually, the retentate builds up and the flow is automatically stopped for a few seconds and back pulsed to clear the media to a separate area and then the filtration starts afresh again. Our Della Toffola crossflow is rated at 0.2 micron and the nTu comes out under our cut off 0.8. we always have filterability checks in place and have never found any problems.

  1. Filtering in the wine industry has had a background with utilising pressure leaf technology combined with diatomaceous earth as the media. This type of filtration is widely used because of its fast processing techniques. How has the Angove winery overcome this phenomenon?
  • What considerations need to be taken into account when evaluating the process stream for new technologies like this to be implemented?

Jim Godden: in early 2009 Angove Family winemakers started exploring the purchase of a new Crossflow filter for use at the Renmark winery. Crossflow Filtration was identified as being able to provide our winemaking team the following benefits:

  • Brilliantly clear wines (turbidity under 2 ntu).
  • Bacterially stable wines.
  • Minimal heating during the process.
  • No loss of colour.
  • No loss of CO2 or SO2.
  • No oxidation.
  • Very minimal wine losses.
  • Substantial savings on traditional filtration costs.

Crossflow filtration has many positive pay-back scenarios within the winery environment, including OH&S environmental issues, cost of consumables and energy savings. Please give us an insight to how Angoves has evaluated the system and what outcomes have been realised since 2009 with regards to:

– OH&S

– Environmental impacts

– Consumables

– Energy

Jim Godden: Filtration of wine at the Renmark facility was in the traditional practice by using earth and depth medias – requiring approximately 2-2.5 passes to get wine to a bottle ready specification (see process flow chart below). hence, this required a significant level of inputs and crossflow filter technology was seen to have the ability to improve winery process and deliver ultimate savings to Angove Family winemakers. An analysis was undertaken at our Renmark winery to identify the current costs of each filtration step concentrating on the following:

  • Wine losses.
  • Number of passes required to get to bottle ready.
  • Consumable usage (depth filters, earth, etc).
  • Labour.
  • Environmental impacts (water, cleaning chemicals).
  • Product quality.
  • OHS (reduction to exposure of diatomaceous earth).
process flow chart

Angove Family winemakers – Bottling Preparation Chart:

  1. The Della Toffola CFKN range of crossflows has many benefits, including the adaptability to grow the filter media area inside the machine when processing requirement demands it. How did you decide on the current machine size and how has this feature of growing filter media to meet the demand worked?
  • What was the square metre of filter media ceramics when you purchased the CFKN 170?
  • What parameters were used to justify the growth of the filter media to align with the wineries growth pattern over the last five years?

Jim Godden: The different types of crossflow filtration media were investigated, these being ceramic and polymeric and the pros and cons were identified and assessed. The ceramic filtration media was the preferred option given the robust nature and the longer lifespan of the membranes. with the operational flexibility of the Della Toffola crossflows this allowed us to initially purchase the 170 square metre machine with a total of 100m2 filtration media within, meaning the other area was blanked off. This would allow us to explore this new technology in the winery while managing the capital spend. Nine months after the Della Toffola crossflow was purchased, installed and started operations the machine was assessed on its performance. What became clearly evident was the anticipated return on investment had been realised.

Some of the savings were:

  • 33 per cent reduction in winery operations notes written.
  • 36 per cent decrease in winery transfers.
  • More than 50 per cent reduction in filtration costs (earth, 
filter media).

Overall the project was considered a major success to the extent the extra 70m2 of ceramic filter media was ordered and installed within 12 months of the initial crossflow launch.

Angove Family winemakers have been at the forefront of technological advancement within the wine sector for many decades. 
Filtration has always been a topic of discussion amongst all departments and they now have solid solutions and answers to the many questions put at them. 
The Angove winemaking team has always worked hard to deliver outstanding quality, year in and year out, and is now looking to set up its small premium winery operations to handle small batches within the winery at Renmark.

Source: Grapegrower & Winemaker Magazine