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TomHill

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RO For Concentrating Wine??

by TomHill » Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:36 pm

In the latest WS; Laube asserts in his article on 2004 Calif Cabs that RO/SC technology is often used to concentrate weak or dilute wines.
I'm familar w/ RO/SC in Calif to remove alcohol; in Bdx/Burg/Piemonte to remove water (concentrate) from musts. But I have never heard of its use in Calif to remove water to concentrate wine.
Anybody have first-hand knowledge of this use in Calif??
TomHill
Please...this is not an invitation to comment on Laube's competence, manliness, looks, hairdo, or anything else. Leave the guy alone.
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James Roscoe

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Re: RO For Concentrating Wine??

by James Roscoe » Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:43 pm

I will leave the guy alone Tom, but could you explain a little for those of us who don't quite get the technical jargon? I haven't gotten my issue yet.
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TomHill

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So Solly...

by TomHill » Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:55 pm

James,
Sorry for the use of technical jargon. RO is Reverse Osmosis. SC is Spinning Cone. Two competing technologies, more or less. I'm most familar w/ RO as used by Vinovation is Sebastopol. Technilically, it's continuous counterflow reverse osmosis.
When you have a wine that you'd like to knock the alcohol down a bit (or a lot), you send a small amount of it off to Clark Smith (the mind behind) and they put it into this machine that continuously circulates the wine across this slightly permeable membrane. The low molecular weight material (namely, water & alcohol) oozes thru the membrane into the other side. This is then distilled to remove the desired amount of alcohol and the water is then returned to the wine. The wine is then returned to the sender, back blended, and...voila...the net alcohol is reduced. Also effective in removing VA (volatile acidity).
It's pretty commonly used in Calif, even by high end Cab producers. IMHO, it's a fairly innocous technology.
It is also used in Europe, where high alcohol in wines is seldom a problem, on the grape must afore fermentation to remove some water. Especially in weak or rain-besotted vintages.
Of course, most winemakers are loathe to acknowledge their use of RO/SC for image reasons.
Tom
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Thomas

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Re: So Solly...

by Thomas » Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:41 pm

Tom,

Sounds to me like Laube may have gotten it confused. Then again, he may know something we have yet to hear about...
Last edited by Thomas on Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So Solly...

by James Roscoe » Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:41 pm

Thanks Tom. I get R/O now. Not so sure about the other. Can anyone answer Tom's original question?
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Oliver McCrum

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Re: So Solly...

by Oliver McCrum » Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:11 pm

Tom,

The technology may be benign, but the way it has come to be used is not, it seems to me. Vinovation's service allows producers to over-ripen grapes to get jammy flavors and soft tannins, then remove the associated alcohol. Vinovation claims half the serious red wine producers in the North Coast use their service...

Not my cup of tea.
Oliver
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