Winemaking consists of many time-consuming steps that require attention and care from the smashing of the grapes to the bottling process. The FDA has, luckily, strict hygiene standards to live up to and correctly producing products are key. As well as having to be aware of hygienic standards, winemakers are also concerned with getting the most for their time and effort so tracking the amount of wine produced is just as paramount. Tracking the volume of wine produced is important and flow meters help to automate this process.
The Steps of Winemaking
There are said to be five key stages of the winemaking process:
▪ Harvesting Grapes: Harvesting is done by hand or mechanically. When the grapes are taken at the winery, they’re sorted into groups, and rotten or not ripe enough grapes are removed.
▪ Crushing & Pressing: Now the grapes are ready to be de-stemmed and crushed. For white wine, quickly crush and press the grapes in order to separate the juice from the skins, seeds, and solids. Red wine, on the other hand, is left in contact with the skins to acquire flavor, color.
▪ Fermentation: This is the process of turning the sugar into alcohol, dry wine is produced when all the sugar is fermented. On the other hand, sweet wine is created by sometimes stopping the fermentation process before all of the sugar is converted. The fermentation step can take anywhere from 10 days to over a month.
▪ Clarification: The process in which solids such as dead yeast cells, tannins, and proteins are removed. Wine is transferred or “racked” into a different vessel such as an oak barrel or a stainless steel tank. The wine can then be clarified through filtration.
▪ Aging & Bottling: A winemaker has two options: bottle the wine right away or give the wine additional aging. Further aging can be done in the bottles, stainless steel tanks, or oak barrels.
Bottling Wine & Flow Meters
Wine bottle fillers are typically used in the final step of the winemaking process, especially in commercial wineries. Standard wine fillers have a nozzle for an easy insert into the bottle, with connected tubing that uses a vacuum pump to move the wine from the container into the bottles. An ultrasonic flow meter can be used to monitor the amount of fluid going into the bottle and at what rate. This allows for the user to know automatically when the bottle is filled without the risk of overfilling, thus saving time and resources. SMD Sensors offers both inline (contact) flow meters and clamp-on (no contact) flow sensors to help monitor flow in applications. Typically in the food and beverage market, non-contact or disposable sensors are ideal for hygiene reasons and are an effective way to monitor your moving liquids.