Thermo-vinification or Flash Détente

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Still learning
Apr 7, 2015
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I know in my short wine making career that I should be honing the basics, but can't help reading and researching preparing for next harvest, and with my latest chromatography screw up I shouldn't be looking to more complicated things, but that's no the way I operate.

I've been reading about Thermo-vinification and Flash Détente. Has anyone here tried either of these?

My thought is(very rough thought), in the spring, to take one lug of grapes,crush & destem, heat the grapes to 180f and then transfer to carboy or sealed bucket(in ice bath) and possibly use the AIO to create vacuum, and pull off the steam, then ferment as normal after cool down.

The Flash Detente method is supposed to increase color and tannin's while getting rid of pyrazine, vegetal and other undesirables.

I'll be curious to compare results to traditional methods. While of course I think it's highly impractical for the home winemaker to pull this off in with large quantities, it seems that many wineries us this method for a portion of their grapes and then use it for blending with traditionally fermented grapes/wines. So doing a small portion for blending might be doable.

"In Europe during the early years of flash technology, it was mainly used for lower quality grapes or difficult vintages that had problems needing fixed. Now the use of this technology is expanding its application to all quality levels of the wine industry."



http://www.vintagepoint.com/assets/client/File/educatedguess/Hypothesis Fact Sheet/Flash Détente Sell Sheet 4-15-2014.pdf


Veteran Winemaker
Jun 16, 2014
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I have reviewed the information in the past and thought it was very interesting, however, it is way beyond the home winemaker. Thermo-vinification is possible, basically heating the red must to 160F or so and then cooling down and fermenting as usual. What you get is very dark color and very clean fermentation as the microbes have been mostly killed. The aromatics are slightly altered by the heating; towards the jammy side. I do this all the time when I make my starters with no major problems.
The flash detente process is significantly different, it works by having a vacuum on a vessel and sending heated must into the vessel where the skin cells explode violently, due to the lower boiling point under vacuum. The flash evaporation rapidly cools the resulting must. The system has to be fairly large, because the vacuum needs to be maintained in the vessel while the must enters through piping and throttling valve that is large enough to pass whole skins etc. The smallest system available requires a must feed rate of 10 tons/hr or about 330 pounds per minute.
I'm not discouraging experimentation, it can be fun if you have the energy. Let us know how it goes; I'm game if it can be done on a small scale.

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