How Does Wine Filtration Work?

There are many questions about how wine filtration works? What kind of filtration methods do you use? How long does it take? How much can you filter? What will this cost? Read through our frequently asked questions below for some answers. Please contact us if you are interested in having us filter at your winery or have further questions.

My wine has smoke taint. I hear RO removes smoke taint, but that it returns?2021-09-07T13:18:32-07:00

There are several important factors with regards to processing smoke taint affected wines. The first factor is processing at the appropriate time, which is as late as possible. For a red, well past ML fermentation, but prior to going into oak. For a white, just prior to going into bottle.

The second factor is treating to the correct level, which should be below sensory detection. Smoke taint may continue to develop in a wine. This is very important, as you may bottle an untreated wine thinking that it has an acceptable level of smoke taint, and find after a year in bottle, the level has increased to a level to make the wine unpalatable. A treated wine will start at a lower level, but also may have some additional smoke taint develop in the bottle.

For example, let’s say we had a wine with 30 ppm of smoke taint. Treating the wine to below sensory level reduces the taint to 7 ppm. Both wines were then bottled, but some additional smoke taint developed in the both bottles, say an additional 10 ppm. The untreated wine now is 40 ppm and unpleasant to drink, while the treated wine would be 17 ppm, still acceptable and saleable.

Can I concentrate my wine, or increase the alcohol content?2021-09-07T13:17:54-07:00

Yes you can, and we have extensive experience doing this. This is an easy process that can significantly increase the quality of a wine that is light in flavour and body.

Does the wine need to be filtered before RO? What do I need for tanks?2021-09-07T13:17:19-07:00

The wine needs to be under 10 NTU. We normally recommend filtering first, and then doing RO. If we are adjusting alcohol, just prior to bottling is the best time, as you only need to filter once. RO is normally recirculating back to the same tank.

I want to lower the alcohol content of my wine, how does this work?2021-09-07T13:16:52-07:00

RO removes an alcohol and water mix. The water component is then added back to the wine. This is a simple process and reversible after processing and before the water being added back. The wine can be “sweet spotted” just before water addition to determine the alcohol concentration that produces the best wine.

I have a wine with higher than normal alcohol, should I reduce the alcohol level?2021-09-07T13:16:05-07:00

Decreasing the alcoholic content of your wine can have a profound effect on quality. The market is moving to wines with alcohol levels at more reasonable levels. High alcohol content wines have a sharper, vodka aftertaste which significantly decreases quality and drinkability.

My wine has acetaldehyde, will RO fix it?2021-09-07T13:15:04-07:00

RO does not remove acetaldehyde. We have found using STARS may have a positive effect, as lowering the ph of the wine will free bound SO2, which may effectively remove some of the oxidative qualities of the wine.

Your RO specifications indicate cooling for processing VA wines, why?2021-09-07T13:14:23-07:00

VA wines will likely take several passes in order to reduce VA levels to optimum, the process recycles into the same tank, we usually pull from bottom, return to top in order to make sure the tank doesn’t have stratification. Cooling is needed to keep wine temperature at between 15 and 20 C, which is the ideal processing temperature. Wine should not start colder than 15C, as this will increase processing time.

I have a wine with VA, can you fix it and what will it taste like?2021-09-07T13:13:31-07:00

Cellar Dweller has processed hundreds of thousands of liters of VA affected wine, with levels of VA as great as 5 mg/liter, with excellent results. VA consumes alcohol, so a VA affected wine will be lower alcohol. If the wine was an excellent wine to start with, and has a relatively lower level of VA, ie 1.5 g/liter or lower, the wine will most likely be a very good standalone wine post processing. Higher levels of VA may produce wines that are best used in blends, but the wine will be of acceptable quality.

Do you RO juice?2021-09-07T13:12:37-07:00

Normally, we don’t RO juice, as fluids need to be low turbidity to RO, and juice would need to be filtered prior to processing. We normally do wine adjustments/ taint removals post fermentation.

What is the quality of filtered Lees?2021-09-07T13:10:49-07:00

The quality of the filtered Lees is very good, as long as the quality of the unfiltered Lees is very good. We recommend filtering right after racking, so that the Lees hasn’t started to ferment. You can expect a slightly lower brix compared to freerun juice, but the same phenolic taste.

What is the typical charge of Lees filtration?2021-09-07T13:09:59-07:00

Typical pricing is about $1 per recovered liter, plus trucking. Frequent Cellar Dweller customers receive a discount.

How much yield should I expect from Lees filtration?2021-09-07T13:09:18-07:00

Yields are typically being about 70 – 80%.

How do I get the juice to your facility?2021-09-07T13:08:37-07:00

Cellar Dweller offers trucking to and from the winery, and loaner totes if needed. Our trucking is calculated on the volume and distance you ship. Ideally, your juice is ready for pickup first thing in the morning. We run a pickup schedule in most regions of the Okanagan and Similkameen.

I would like some information on your juice lees filtration services during harvest. We currently have no lees filtration and have been actively looking for a solution. I know you are doing lees filtration at smaller facilities, but I’m concerned that our volume may be too small for you to handle.2021-09-07T13:11:41-07:00

During harvest, we run multiple wineries and multiple batches per day. Our present capacity is 4000 to 5000 liters per shift. There is some wine intermixing from batch to batch, about 100 liters. We accept volumes of 400 liters or greater during harvest, and volumes of 1000 liters or greater during other time periods. For high volumes, we recommend running at your facility.

How much can you process per day?2021-09-07T13:05:57-07:00

We normally process between 15000 and 25000 liters per day. Higher treatment rates (ph adjustment, highly unstable wines) mean a slightly slower processing rate.

When should STARS be performed?2021-09-07T13:05:21-07:00

For the majority of wines, we recommend right after filtration and before bottling. For wines targeted for ph reduction, we recommend before aging as the lower ph wines will have more free SO2, and be more protected from VA, oxidizing, and other faults.

What are the advantages of STARS vs traditional Cold stabilization?2021-09-07T13:04:24-07:00

STARS has no wine loss. STARS has less oxygen pick up, as cold wines pick up oxygen readily. STARS is much faster and allows wines to be released earlier. STARS has lower energy consumption and doesn’t require extensive chilling capacity.

If I want to use STARS but don’t want a ph drop, what changes should I make?2021-09-07T13:03:54-07:00

We recommend picking grapes slightly later, at a higher ph. This has the added benefit of allowing the grapes to reach a higher phenolic ripeness.

My wine is high ph, how much can you lower ph?2021-09-07T13:03:16-07:00

We can decrease ph by up to 0.25 per pass for wines that are too high in ph, and this is a common usage of the system.

How does Cellar Dweller calculate my charge?2021-09-03T01:19:05-07:00

Cellar Dweller charges by the hour. We take your specific job, and calculate an estimated time to perform your job, and then calculate the charge.

My job was took a different time than estimated, how does this affect my charge?2021-09-03T01:18:39-07:00

Our pricing is firm as long as the job aspect does not change from originally quoted. If the job takes longer, and the reason it has taken longer isn’t within the winery control, we will not charge a higher fee. If the job takes a shorter amount of time than quoted, we will reduce the pricing by the labor and travel component.

I am using Cellar Dweller for multiple services per year, how does this affect pricing?2021-09-03T01:20:19-07:00

Cellar Dweller applies a discount rate based on total usage of our services over a year. For those customers that book our systems on “ad hoc” basis, the discount increases with each booking up to the maximum discount. Those customers who book the years services at the start of the year (with approximate volumes and penciled in dates) get the calculated maximum discount on all bookings.

What time will Cellar Dweller arrive and leave my facility?2021-09-03T01:21:59-07:00

Normally, our operators schedule their day in order to arrive at the winery at 8 am. If it is a single day job, they will stay until the job is completed. If it is a multi day job, they normally will process until 4 pm, unless they determine they need to run longer in order to complete the job on time.

During winter hours, we may request to move equipment into the winery the evening prior to processing.

I plan on using Crossflow, Reverse Osmosis and STARS, what is the recommended order ?2021-09-03T01:23:09-07:00

Crossflow, RO then STARS is the preferred order. We recommend doing as close to bottling as possible.

I haven’t used your services before, can you offer references? Do you come to our region?2021-09-07T13:22:29-07:00

Cellar Dweller currently provides services to 90 BC wineries in all regions. We can provide multiple references for all our equipment offerings.

What do I need for tanks, hoses, fittings to use your services?2021-09-03T01:32:10-07:00

Cellar Dweller normally does not provide the hoses on the inlet and outlet side of the equipment, but we do provide the drain hoses for equipment (STARS, CROSSFLOW). We also provide the fittings that for hoses connected to our equipment. Crossflow and STARS are tank to tank processes, so a clean receiving tank is needed for all wines. RO is recycled into the original tank, but may need a tank with chilling capability, and may need additional tanks for permeate and water, depending on the process. See our site requirements for additional details.

Our winery owns a plate and frame filter, why should we use crossflow?2021-09-03T01:27:34-07:00

Several reasons. The first, crossflow will give you better quality. The second, your increased gain in efficiency will mean that using our services will increase your wineries profit. You will gain at least 1 – 1.5% yield, so for a 30,000 liter winery that means 30 plus more cases of wine to sell. The third, time and labor, crossflow is fast and single pass, which means significantly reduced labor costs.

Is Crossflow filtration available in different ratings?2021-09-03T01:32:49-07:00

Crossflow is one grade only. There is a both a technical and practical reason for this. Technically, coarser membranes don’t work as well in a crossflow configuration. Practically, exchanging membranes is time consuming and the membranes are very expensive, so this adds significantly to cost.

How does crossflow affect wine taste?2021-09-03T01:33:43-07:00

The components of wine that affect wine taste are molecular components and not removed by the membranes. The membranes have been selected to only remove particulate contaminants. Like other filtration methods or bottling, there may be a slight filter/bottle shock effect, but crossflow filtered wines typically rebound faster than filter pad filtered wines. Crossflow has been extensively tested by wineries, universities, and other independent evaluators and has become the filtration method of choice, both for quality and for efficiency. The Pall Oenoflow systems we use are recognized as an industry leader.

What volume can you process per day?2021-09-03T01:35:12-07:00

Wine filtration is variable, as some wines filter much easier than others. In general, our smallest system will do about 8,000 – 10,000 liters per day, and our largest system about 25,000 – 30,000 liters per day.

What factors do you use to calculate the time to complete my job?2021-09-03T01:36:52-07:00

In order to calculate the estimated time to complete the job, we need to know the following: Volume of each category of wine: fruit, ice, red, rose, and white wine. Number of different lots. Condition of the wine: stop fermentation, un-racked, racked, previously filtered. We also take in account different aspects of the winery such as: ease of access, water flow, whether we can clean onsite, and distance from our facility.

Does the wine need to be racked? Prefiltered?2021-09-03T01:38:52-07:00

One of the main selling points of Crossflow is the efficiency of the system and its ability to handle higher turbidities and produce bottle ready wines in a single pass. Wines do not need to be pre-filtered. If wines are un-racked, we normally start filtration off the racking valve, and then complete the filtration from the bottom valve or with a wand. Un-racked wines should be settled to below the racking valves, normally 3 – 4 days after bentonite addition is adequate.

We would typically only do stop fermentations for sweet wines to reduce the amount of sulfur additions, or for stuck fermentations where alcohol needs to be reduced to restart the fermentation.

The Crossflow is not suitable for wine lees, our qualification for whether we can filter the wine or not is whether the wine passes through our prescreen filter.

Does the STARS unit require a certain “cleanliness” level of wine before STARS treatment?2021-09-07T13:02:00-07:00

We specify a maximum turbidity of 5 NTU, but Crossflow or fine filter pads are recommended. The STARS unit has a 1 um absolute filter installed to protect the membranes, this filter is $125 per changeout.

What effect does STARS have on wine ph?2021-09-07T13:02:41-07:00

There is typically a slight decrease in wine ph, the amount depending on the level of treatment needed, but typically about a 0.1 shift.

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