MW Topic of the Week: Bulk Wine (Again)

Hi all

15 weeks until the MW exam! Or 14 weeks if you are sitting the stage 1 assessment... I think the seriousness has finally hit me and now I'm on a study tear.

Bulk wine pops up quite a bit on P3, so I would like to look at it again. Here is a question from 2017

Assess the various methods of transporting wine in bulk; what precautions should be taken from a QA perspective?

If you submitted for the recent Lallemand scholarship, you may already have a leg up here!

I have attached two fantastic seminar presentations on bulk wine shipment. One shows the three main vessels for shipping - flextank, ISO, and refer. One is a deep dive into flextanks. 

Cheers,

PDF PDF

  • Thanks for the resources, Sabrina. Nova Cadamatre MW gave an excellent presentation on bulk wine transportation during the S2 seminar in Napa last week. The PowerPoints are not yet posted on the Online Resource Library but, I believe, they will be accessible soon. 

  • Thank you. I was just told that those individual websites that they make for the seminars also have the uploaded presentations! Check and see if they're up there.

  • This question threw me through a bit of a loop because I struggled to define method (seriously). Is method the vessel (like flexitank) or is method the mode of transport (truck, train etc)? I eventually settled on vessel. Here are my notes ranging from large through small vessels. I have outlined this with pro/con because if "assess" is in the question we need to show multiple perspectives on the subject.

    Rail car

    • Suitable for large volume and long continental transit, 75,000-100,000 L with no weight limit
    • Rail car is filled via valve at bottom

    Pro

    • Lowest cost option for large volume continental. Entire car costs $4500-5000 USD for coast to coast travel in USA ($0.05/L) or about 25% of truck (according to Constellation Brands)

    Con

    • No temperature control, must watch weather
    • Not suitable for most wineries, need a rail spur at facility
    • Not efficient for short trips

    QA precautions

    • Standard sanitation vessel, lines, fittings
    • Standard QA precaution of lowering microbial load, adjusting to an appropriate level of free sulfur dioxide (60 mg/L)
    • Sterile filtration if wine has any residual sugar
    • Select transport date based on weather to avoid extreme heat or cold

    Flexitank inside shipping container

    • Suitable for variety of volumes 10,000-24,000 L - bag is filled from vacuum so there is no headspace
    • Shipping container is standard 20 foot, will need large truck to transport on road to shipping port or rail yard
    • Pros
      • Aapx $0.25/L according to Nova Cadametre MW
      • Low dissolved oxygen pick up due to vacuum state and gas barrier in plastic lining 
      • Cannot be reused, low risk of microbial contamination due to poor sanitation
      • Large thermal mass keeps temperature buffered if shipped on cargo ship
      • Can be shipped on truck, rail, or ship
    • Cons
      • Concerns over weight on highway - full 24,000 L container is close to 60,000 lbs. California highway weight maximum is 80,000 lbs including truck.
      • Cannot be reused
      • Isolated load can chill or overheat on truck shipment
      • Potential flavor contamination from container through membrane
    • QA precautions
      • Standard sanitation of all lines and fittings during loading
      • Standard QA precaution of lowering microbial load, adjusting to an appropriate level of free sulfur dioxide (40 mg/L if short, 60 mg/L if overseas)
      • Sterile filtration if wine has any residual sugar
      • Use of thermal blanket or other temperature control if at risk of heat/cold

    ISO tank

    • Pill shaped tank inside ISO frame
    • Suitable for 15,000-25,000 L
    • Pros
      • Reusable and multi-use (Hawke’s Bay Wine Co uses ISO tanks as in-winery portable tanks)
      • Refrigeration available
    • Cons
      • Low availability due to ownership by a single company, never shipped empty
      • Potential for oxygen ingress if seal fails
      • Potential for spoilage due to poor sanitation
    • QA precautions
      • Standard sanitation of tank, lines and fittings
      • Standard QA precaution of lowering microbial load, adjusting to an appropriate level of free sulfur dioxide (40 mg/L if short, 60 mg/L if overseas)
      • Sterile filtration if wine has any residual sugar
      • Use of CO2 to evacuate space

    Portable tanks and barrels

    • Includes TranStore tanks and all barrels on racks
    • Suitable only for small volumes, 0-10,000 L - not efficient at large scale
    • Pros
      • Can select exact vessel for volume
      • TranStore and barrels are multi-use and can be used again in winery
      • Small vessel means it can be transported in refrigerated truck
    • Cons
      • High risk of DO pickup due to small vessel size
      • Low thermal mass means higher potential for temperature fluctuation if not refrigerated
    • QA precautions
      • Standard sanitation of all lines and fittings during loading
      • Cleaning of vessels to best possible level
        • Oak is not sanitizable, stainless vessels are
      • Standard QA precaution of lowering microbial load, adjusting to an appropriate level of free sulfur dioxide (40 mg/L if short, 60 mg/L if overseas)
      • Sterile filtration if wine has any residual sugar
      • Use of CO2 to evacuate space