Every winemaker understands the importance of producing aromatic wines. The problem is aromas are stripped out by the CO2 produced during fermentation. If the winemaker can smell aromas outside the fermenter, they’ve forever left the developing wine. But what if those aromas never escaped? That’s the question we set out to answer. The AromaLoc™ system is a totally additive-free, hands-off process that prevents aromas from leaving the wine — no tampering or interfering with the fermentation process. Intervention only occurs with the headspace gas above the juice, and this produces desirable changes in the fermenting liquid below.
Why bother? It’s really quite simple: increased desirable aromas enhance mouthfeel and make wine more attractive to the consumer, benefitting the bottom line for innovative companies.
To learn more about the AromaLoc solution, click the button below. Or contact Randy Morse, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2005, Dr. Dick Jones and his wife moved to Naramata, British Columbia, part of the Naramata Bench region of vineyards. Not long after arriving, Jones began making wine from his Pinot Gris and Gamay grapes.
He loved the smells of his first small fermenting lots. But when he tried the finished wine, much of that aroma was gone, leading to a disappointing tasting experience.
Preserving aromatics is something winemakers, especially those making white wines, struggle with. As fermentation produces aromatic compounds and carbon dioxide, the carbon dioxide molecules rise and push out the aromas. Various solutions, such as cold fermentation, can be helpful, but aroma loss still occurs.
In 2013, Jones sourced a membrane developed in Europe. Jones used it on a small fermenter in an initial trial. Looking like a shiny piece of plastic paper with a thin membrane coating on one side, the idea was to ensure that when the wine fermented, the carbon dioxide would pass through, but aroma compounds, because of their shape and chemical makeup, would not go through but remain in the headspace.
A pulmonary scientist, Jones recognized the potential of this approach — human lungs are designed to release carbon dioxide and keep everything else in.
This is almost exactly the same process we use when we’re breathing.
— Dr. Dick Jones
In 2015, Jones partnered with Pentâge Winery co-owner Paul Gardner to try the process on commercial-size fermenting vats. For their first vintage, they fermented 700 litres of Pinot Gris in a 1,000-litre tank. Rather than using a flat sheet membrane, the sealed tank was connected to two 18-inch-long cylinders, each containing thousands of hollow tubes — each tube was a membrane. The entire prototype was roughly the size of a suitcase.
Once the wine was ready, a panel of 16 wine industry professionals blind-tasted the AromaLoc™ Pinot Gris, and the control Pentâge Pinot Gris made from the same juice and yeast. All of them preferred the wine fermented using the AromaLoc method.
What’s appealing is that you’re not adding anything to the wine, you’re using what’s already there.
— Marcus Ansems, Master of Wine and co-owner, Daydreamer Winery
Samples of the wines were then analyzed for aroma compounds at the University of British Columbia’s Wine Research Centre. The AromaLoc wine showed much higher levels of the high impact aroma compounds than the control wine.
Through ongoing R&D, AromaLoc has continued to improve its system, resulting in lowered costs, a smaller machine, and improved results.