The MicroFlex direct-flow filter, designed by Diemme Enologia in Lugo, Italy, has come across the pond to North America. The Canadian supplier, Cellar-Tek, is very happy about this development because of the advantages it will provide wine makers.
The filter was tested at Quail’s Gate Winery in West Kelowna on a Marechal Foch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. George Oake tested the Microflex by filtering the wine using both the new and old systems to compare the results.
Oake says, “The Microflex allows me to filter our wines in a gentle and thorough manner from 42 NTUs down to 0.4 NTUs; ready for bottle in one pass without stripping color, flavour or aroma.”
Diemme Enologia says the great benefit of the new filtration system is that it avoids the stresses associated with recycling the wine through the traditional multiple filter system.
The Microflex filter comes in three sizes, based on the number of membrane cartridges used in the low pressure, oxygen-free, closed system.
The company says the smallest filter utilizes 12 filters, with a rated span of 2.4 million litres. The 24 and 48 cartridge systems are rated for 4.8 and 9.6 million litres, which works out to a filter media cost of a quarter penny per litre.
The bigger units can handle the work load at a much greater rate. The 12 requires a minimum of 1,800 litres per hour and has a maximum output of 6,000, while the 48 processes from 7,200 to 24,000 litres per hour.
According to Cellar-Tek: “The low operating pressure differential allows high flow rates with virtually no stress or heat gain to wine whatsoever. There are also no perceptible changes to the wine’s organoleptic qualities immediately after filtration. This is virtually unheard of in conventional filtration.”
In keeping with Diemme Enologia’s mandate to design environmentally friendly equipment, the MicroFlex filter has very low energy consumption for its flow rates and the automatic washing cycles were designed to minimize the amount of water used in the process.”