Technology

The innovative production technologies

The farm Lenotti avails itself of the latest technologies in wine production aiming at increasing the genuine character of its own wines and offering the highest possible quality. Our farm has innovative plants for vinification, conservation and bottling. Particular attention is paid to the selection of grapes that are harvested in the classical vineyards and turned into wine separately.

Each stage of production is followed with the utmost care for the wine using the latest technologies such as the controlled low temperature fermentation and the sterile cold bottling. A particular innovative technology, for the reduction of sulphurus anhydride, is applied to all our products with results that can be defined “extraordinary” as far as maintaining genuine character and longevity are concerned.

The Latest Technologies in Wine Production

The role of oxygen
and sulphur dioxide in wine

Grapes and must need a certain amount of oxygen. It is an indispensable element for the life of biological microflora which transform the natural sugars into alcohol. Once the primary and, subsequently, secondary fermentation processes have taken place, oxygen however becomes an enemy and jeopardises the outcome of the wine. Wine is, in fact, an organic food substance capable of altering biologically and it is easily oxidised. During the phases of preservation, ageing and bottling it is therefore extremely important to maintain the wine at very low oxygen levels and to use all the technology available for the development of a good wine.

The presence of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in wine has the following effects:

•it acts as a preservative when present in large amounts, thereby impeding the development of bacteria;
•it is anti-oxidising in so far as the presence of sulphur dioxide in wine blocks the oxygen, thus preventing the oxidisation of the wine itself.

The presence of sulphur dioxide at levels which exceed 100 mg. per litre does, however, pose health problems for the consumer (headache, stomach-ache, hyperacidity, alterations in the microbiological flora of the digestive system and other side effects). Our winery, always on the alert to these problems and ready to upgrade the quality of its products, has faced the situation with the view to: Maintaining the oxygen content in the wine as low as possible, thereby drastically reducing the quantities of sulphur dioxide necessary.

Research and analysis of the problem has been carried out using an avant-garde instrument (an oxygen dosing and measuring device) which very few wineries in Italy are equipped with. This instrument allows one to record the oxygen content at any given time during the various phases of production (whether in tanks, during filtration, cooling, on entering the filling vat or even in the bottle before and after it has been corked) and to follow through its evolution in the bottle over a period of time. This equipment is extremely reliable and sensitive and is able to register oxygen levels in parts per million (p.p.m.) and even in parts per billion (p.p.b.).

Technology we use in the production

Vinification of the grapes. The quantity of sulphur dioxide used has been greatly reduced: from 150 mg. per litre in the past to 50 mg per litre nowadays, using the following methods:

• selection of particular yeasts for the vinification;
• selection of particular yeasts for the vinification;
• careful control of the temperature during fermentation.

Preservation and ageing of wines with SO2 levels of 40-60 mg per litre and oxygen levels of 0,4-0,5 p.p.m using the following methods:

• filtering and preserving of wines sterilised at a low temperature;
• movement of wines in the various stages of vinification (decanting, filtering, cooling) with volumetric pumps, and compensation with inert gases from the tanks (mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide).

Bottling of wines sterilised by chilling: Nowadays the ready availability of sophisticated technology with computerised bottling machines allows one to control the various phases of vinification with extreme precision and reliability, thus guaranteeing perfect results. The bottling process is, in fact, one of the most important stages in determining the biological stability and future of a wine.

Wine is sterilised through the use of narrow filtering tubes which impede the movement of biological matter which could subsequently multiply in the bottle, thereby altering the composition of the wine itself. Sterilisation of the bottles and of the entire bottling line is of fundamental importance. We manage all this by daily applying a flowing steam heated to 120° C. to the bottle-sterilising machine, the bottle-filling machine and the filters.

The bottles are washed with sterilised water and the wine is filtered chilled using filters with membranes of 0.4 microns and sent directly to the bottle-filling machine where the filling takes place.

The filling and corking are then carried out with a special kind of technology (designed and custom built for us) which guarantees the total absence of oxygen in this delicate phase of vinification.

Tartaric stabilization with electrodialysis: Electrodialysis is an innovative technique allowed for all types of wine. It stabilizes wine working at room temperature, without altering structure and color. It is a separation technique that exploits the driving-force of an electric field that works inside a system of membranes. Membranes are selective; this means they don’t have any real filtering function, but simply they separate ions contained in wine and isolate electrodes used to create the magnetic field.
Ions separation is activated following physical-chemical parameters (difference in potential, electrolytes charge. etc.), while the cold stabilization system (always used in the past before starting with electrodialysis) is linked to the principle of separation by crystallization, which can be disturbed by various factors: colloids in general, substances having a polyphenolic matrix, alcohol, etc. Therefore, cold tartaric stabilization is not a system that can be parameterized with any certainty.
It should be mentioned that for all the disturbance agents, crystallization does not affect the parameters that regulate electrodialysis; Electrodialysis can therefore be perfectly measured in any situation.
Cold tartaric stabilization leads to an intense separation of the ionic species corresponding to that permitted by the specificity of the wine to be treated, while electrodialysis can reach the level of ionic separation that the winery’s technician desires. Electrodialysis therefore allows obtaining, on any oenological matrix, extremely reliable levels of stability that cannot absolutely be reached by using the cold stabilization technique. On a more general level, electrodialysis, as compared to cold tartaric stabilization, stabilizes the product at room temperature: it does not denature the colloids of the protein matrixes, it does not damage the colorants and does not alter the colloidal structures, which are highly important as they are support the fragrances and are fundamental components of the wine’s structure. As well as separating the tartrate ions from the potassium ions, electrodialysis, also contributes to separating other ionic species such as calcium, which further improves the stability of wine even when the cold tartaric stabilization has no effects. Similarly to that which occurs during cold stabilization, by using suitable accessories, potassium ditartrate can be separated from salt water and then recovered. The product to be treated via electrodialysis does not need any particular pre-treatment, as it is sufficient that the product does not contain any coarse particles. Upon completion of electrodialysis, no further clarification is needed, of any type.

Advantages and results:

-Tartaric stability is guaranteed for all wines;

-The colour and structure of the wine remain unaltered;

-The organoleptic qualities are retained;

-Wine maintains its colloidal integrity (wine is not filtered but rather flows over the surface of a membrane);

-Partial stability to calcium;

-Environmentally sustainable;

-Energy saving.

The results

It is generally considered that a good wine is obtained by observing the following technological parameters: that the oxygen content in the wine be less than 2 p.p.m in the corked bottle, space at the neck of the bottle included. (Measuring takes place after the corked bottle has been turned upside-down for about two minutes so as to allow the absorption of oxygen in the space at the neck of the wine bottle).

We, however, claim that the optimum level for a wine to last in excellent condition is less than 1 p.p.m.

In the corked bottle, including the space at the neck, our wines register oxygen levels of 0.4-0.5 p.p.m. and free SO2 levels at 8-10 mg per litre, with a total SO2 content of 40-60 mg. per litre. This is possible as in our wines the oxygen content does not increase during the various stages of vinification and bottling. All this guarantees that our wines have a long life and manage to preserve their original and unique characteristics, all their primary aromas and full bouquets.