Why Adjust Alcohol in Wine?
In many of the world's hotter grape growing areas (e.g. California, Chile, Australia, Southern France, South Africa, Spain, etc.) a combination of climate conditions (compounded by GLOBAL WARMING) and modern yeast strains drives sugar and alcohol levels several points higher than are desirable. Around the world the AVERAGE alcohol level in wine is TWO DEGREES HIGHER than it was 20 years ago. Also, winemakers increasingly value phenolic ripeness because they know consumers want the full flavors which derive from that.
• High alcohol “hotness” that has a masking effect on the flavor of the wine, that is increasingly found undesirable by consumers worldwide
• Over extraction of grapes due to high alcohols
• Stuck fermentations & the host of resulting evils
Since ConeTech's introduction of the Spinning Cone Column (SCC) first into California in 1991, and then into other countries, winemakers now have complete control over the process. This enables precise adjustment of the wine's alcohol level, to achieve harmony and balance (“sweet spot”) with all the other components of the wine.
The Traditional Solution
Winemakers had only three “solutions” to the problem of high alcohol:
1. Dilute with water
2. Pick grapes earlier then ideal
3. Blending away with other wines
The ConeTech Solution
Use the Spinning Cone Column state of the art technology that uses a unique combination of thin-film techniques, low temperature vacuum operation, and minimal residence time. This highly selective molecular distillation process totally avoids any thermal damage or stress to the wine.
The winemaker can therefore:
• Select a relatively small portion of the wine
• Separate all of its delicate, volatile aroma components
• Remove the alcohol from this de-aromatized portion
• Suffer no loss or damage to the flavor
• Restore the aroma/flavor compounds to the de-alcoholized wine
• Enjoy the “best of both worlds”: full ripe flavors, yet softness on the palate.
Research into the solubility of volatile aroma/flavor compounds in alcohol has discovered that the “masking effect” is the result of key compounds drastically losing their volatility (and thus their perceptibility to nose and palate) as alcohol rises beyond an optimum level.
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