Our new plant: vertical grape processing - with horizontal tools

By building the new processing facility, we have taken two big steps to ensure the outstanding quality of our wines. On the one hand, we don't use a pump in the plant, and on the other hand, the whole process is cooled. Gently processed grapes give a better quality wine, as bypassing the pump it is guaranteed that no secondary (vinegar) fermentation will start, so the wine will have better acidity. Cooling is important because harvested grapes retain their important flavors at low temperatures, so these flavors can be preserved in the wine. However, the climate is getting hotter and the harvest can take place even in summer temperatures. A sunny bunch of grapes harvested at 30 degrees can be 40 degrees hot, which is dramatically far from ideal.

The details:
The so called vertical processing is widely used in the world to replace pumping, where the steps of the process are placed underneath each other, not side by side, so that the raw material reaches the right place by gravity (ie without the use of a pump). This requires the construction of huge towers, which we ruled out, as they would ruin the Somló landscape. We had to find a solution that would achieve the desired result but fit into a building of normal height. That is, we can perform horizontal processing - with vertical tools. In addition, we also wanted to solve the cooling. To do this, we took a thorough look around the world and by adapting different solutions we designed and built the ideal plant for us.

The key to the system is the 6 cooled 4.000 liters mobile soaking tanks. The first step is to bring the pre-cooled tank by a special forklift to the transport vehicle that brought in the grapes. The truck lifts its load, and pours the grapes into the tank, which is then returned to the dock by the forklift. At the docking walkway, a quick coupler can be used to connect cooling, cooling control and must drain. The tank is easy to operate from the sidewalk, so we can mix the mash during the cooled soaking. And the tank has a double bottom, the upper – perforated – bottom plate holds the grapes, but the must flows through it and goes to the lower part, from where it gets into the cellar by gravity through a pipe. When the grapes are no longer draining juice, the forklift raises the tank again, brings it to the press, tilts it and as if it were a glass pours the grapes into the press. (Incidentally, these kind of forklifts are used in foundries too.)

The must produced during pressing is placed in a settling tank, cooled to 8 degrees overnight, then it is lowered into the cellar - where we can start making wine with the best possible quality. By the way, with 6 tanks, we can process 38000 kg (5 hectares of grapes) a day, so we offer the processing to other Somló wineries as a service.

We consider it particularly important that the related investments make the development completely environmentally friendly. We provide solar power and a wastewater treatment plant, so we do not take contaminated water out of the area, the water is only borrowed for use and is returned to the Somló water system cleaned.

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