Keeping burgundy the best
Small scale producers of quality wine are enjoying unlimited use of a state-of-the-art wine analyser for under €1.000 a year with associated benefits including improved knowledge and decision making.
The producers are sharing the use of a WineScan instrument - a wine analyser that is used for analysing grape must and wine. The rapid analyser gives local winemakers results in minutes, allowing them to get on with their work safe in the knowledge that their winemaking decisions are backed by accurate objective information.
The idea was the brainwave of Thiebault Huber, who manages eight hectares of gently sloping vineyards in the heart of the historic winemaking region. Huber is one of thirty wine producers in the village, many of whom are part of a cooperative company that Huber founded in 1996 to help with the purchase and finance of major items of equipment. In 2005, ten of the winemakers got together to purchase the wine analyser which is placed in a small room in the local town hall where they can use it as often as they like.
The analyser is used from harvest to bottling to support all the aspects involved in producing Burgundy wine, as Huber enthusiastically explains in relation to the use of Pinot Noir grape. When treated correctly, Pinot Noir can produce highly prized wines that reveal intricate differences of terroir. Grape maturity is critical and routine testing with the analyser helps the Volnay producers to decide the timing of the harvest for particular plots based on results for parameters such as sugar level and acidity.
Another important point for winemaking with Pinot Noir in the region is that there is a long period of maceration of between 15 and 30 days. During this period, the wine is closely monitored by frequent measurements of parameters such as alcohol, volatile acid and malic acid.
The new knowledge afforded by the analyser does not actually change the way wine is made, but it helps the winemakers of Volnay to tackle challenges and ensure that they are doing the right thing at the right time. “We are completely sure that when we put the red wine in barrels there is no sugar and this is important because control of tighter controls on parameters such as sugar and alcohol,” says Huber. “We are calmer because we work with more precision and we get information that we would never get with the old system because we used to limit the amount of tests sent to the laboratory. Now we can analyse as much as we like - down to tests for each barrel if we want to.”
Read the full article originally published in In Focus magazine no.2, 2008, page 18, (Available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian)
About FOSS and the
About the WineScan wine analyser