Game-Changing Technologies for Small Wineries

Written by Clark Smith

INNOVATION #1: Maceration Accelerator Della Toffola

“This is the brainchild of Dr. Richard Smart, who conceived the simple idea that skins would extract quicker if we chopped them up or, as Dr. Smart puts it, accentuated cut edges. When we crush a berry, we get no extraction through the outer wax cuticle and only slow extraction through the inner pectin layer. Extraction is rapid through the cut edge, but there isn’t enough of it. If we could find a way to chop the skins in 10 pieces without cutting the seeds, we could extract color and flavor more quickly.

He convinced Dr. Angela Sparrow of the University of Tasmania to research the idea, at first with a simple stick blender, a device similar to a kitchen blender. Once the mechanical details were worked out, Dr. Sparrow vinified a series of Pinot Noirs and conducted sensory trials, which confirmed the promise of the idea.

The Italian-based Della Toffola Group, one of the largest providers of winery equipment throughout the globe, is always on the lookout for technical innovations. When Smart and Sparrow approached them with their research in 2018, DTG’s engineers took up the challenge, producing a practical in-line low-cost unit in three sizes: 10 tons per hour, 22 tons per hour and 45 tons per hour, priced at about what you’d pay for a must pump with those throughputs.

Besides the sensory advantages, the Della Toffola Maceration Accelerator (DTMA) offers the option to press in as early as three days. These wines have brighter red fruit and smoother tannins and thus can be released earlier.

In May 2019, I attended a presentation by Dr. Smart at Della Toffola USA’s Santa Rosa, Calif. headquarters and was instantly intrigued. I procured a Robot-Coupe stick blender and performed trials at Granite Springs Winery on Tempranillo, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The results were amazing: color was substantially enhanced, the wines had a dense core of fruit, and the grainy tannins of the controls were transformed into a dense, round, soft mouthfeel. I was blown away.

I also learned that the five minutes per bin required to process a half-ton bin is a very long five minutes for an old guy like me. Also, it is impossible to get the consistency of chopping that the in-line DTMA offers. The in-line design makes cleanup a non-event. Anybody who wants to borrow my stick blender is welcome to it because I’m graduating to a DTMA!

This harvest, Della Toffola fielded a fleet of machines for trials throughout California and on the East Coast.”

For more information about our DTMA Maceration Accelerator, please contact us via

This article first appeared in Wine Business Monthly (Nov 2020)