Our customer is a premier producer of various spirits including wine. At a major wine producing and bottling facility located in San Joaquin County a new bottling line was being installed. A fundamental process for wine before bottling is filtration. Filtration of wine can enhance its appearance, shorten aging time, lighten color, make the wine more stable, and reduce the chance of re-fermentation while in the bottle. Adding “polish” to a wine’s appearance is a choice many wine producers make. Our customer needed a repeatable and reliable filtration system for the finish and stabilization of wine transferring prior to transfer to the filling systems.
The processes involved with the production of wine, including filtration and cleaning, are typically at the wine maker’s discretion. This lends to each winery having its own methods and procedures for the primary steps in the wine making and bottling processes. For this particular project our customer had a specific sequence of cleaning steps, operations and capabilities the filtration system must be able to perform.
The concept of the filtration system was simple in that its purpose was to flow wine through two stages of filter elements and housing, pre and post filters. It was very important that the design be uncomplicated and safe for operators to use, however the complexity of the process needed to allow for operations to clean various stages of the system while in production; control rate of flow from the cellar tanks; control flow and pressure to filler; and be designed and fabricated at a very budget friendly cost.
Our customer selected Placer Process Systems as their strategic partner to design and install a filtration system that would provide the required polishing of wine prior to bottling. The core of the system included two sets of sanitary pre and post filter housings with different styles of filter elements. Each filter housing included isolation valves, vents and sample ports. The skid included a surge tank to act as a buffer tank between the cellar tank and filler with a feed pump that was pressure controlled to provide a constant feed rate and pressure to the filler. Following chemical and hot water sterilization, the system was rinsed with water for cooling then purged with nitrogen to help remove all residual water and protect against oxygen contamination before wine transfer.
As wine transfer occurred, the system monitored the differential pressure of all filters that provided indication when the pre and post filters had collected enough solids that an element change was required. Dedicated hot water supply ports were provided upstream of each filter housing allowing the housing and element to be sterilized during production in preparation for a filter housing change over. In the event an element had reached solids capacity, the filter housing changeover could occur without interruption to filling.
The customer was able to receive and operate a reliable and clean filtration system where each set of filters could rinse, sanitize, drain and purge independent of each other. This allowed the transfer of wine to the filler to occur without interruption. The system controls, sensors, and valves allowed the operating program to safely clean, operate, and control the transfer of wine from the cellar to the filler with minimal operator input.
The addition of this filtration system has improved the customer’s production output and minimized the rejected bottled products which has increased the quantity of high quality products going out to store shelves and helped boost overall profitability.