Innovation Wins for Wine Bottling and Leveling

GAI and Gruppo Bertolaso honored with awards for technological innovation

by Kate Lavin
SIMEI drinktec innovation challenge munich gruppo bertolaso bottle sorting machine
Antonietta Bertolaso (center) accepts the Technological Innovation Award on behalf of Gruppo Bertolaso, the company she runs with her father and sister, today at SIMEI@drinktec in Munich.

Munich, Germany—Six companies claimed prizes for producing the most innovative winemaking products today in Munich, where exhibitors had set up mammoth displays of vinification and bottling equipment across 15 large trade halls for the first-ever SIMEI@drinktec show.

The Italian wine trade organization Unione Italiana Vini, which runs the SIMEI conference traditionally held in Milan, selected today’s winners among entries from the exhibiting companies, which numbered nearly 1,750.

GAI S.p.A. earned a Technical Innovation Award for its Bottle Sorting Machine 45012, which verifies individual bottles’ resistance to internal pressure and is able to identify micro-fissures in the bottle neck. The Technical Scientific Committee responsible for the judging hailed the product’s ability to spot defects as a way to prevent product loss through breakage and eliminate downtime caused by defective bottles.

In accepting the award from Quirico Decordi, vice president of the Unione Italiana Vini, company president Carlo Gai said he was moved by the timing of the award, which coincides with his 25th edition of SIMEI.

Gai’s company developed the product in response to customers who asked for a way to spot faulty bottles upstream from the filling station, where breakage means glass shards and spilled wine that has to be retrieved from tight, tough-to-clean locations.

The Bottle Sorting Machine is one of many GAI products on display at 323,000-square-foot event space Messe München this week. Others include labeling machines, clean-in-place systems, can fillers, bottle exterior washers and more.

Gruppo Bertolaso S.p.A. also claimed a Technical Innovation Award for its Optimized-Weight Level Bottling Plant, which weighs bottles before filling to automatically adjust actual fill volume. Bottles also are weighed after filling to confirm product quantity. The SIMEI judging committee remarked that wine bottled on this machinery has a uniform filling level that makes it more aesthetically pleasing.

Antonietta Bertolaso accepted the award on behalf of the family-owned business based in Verona, Italy, and dating back to 1880. She said her 92-year-old father was not able to attend the trade show but would have been very proud to leave the show with a trophy.

The company’s Automatic Bottle Inspection System won a prize for new technology from Innovation Challenge SIMEI in 2015, and its Integrated Bottle Management System was honored in 2013.

Award-winning new products
SIMEI also recognized four other companies for their new technologies at the 2017 prize-giving ceremony.

Amorim Cork’s NDTech system promises 100% TCA-free wine closures using gas chromatography on individual cork closures. The process scans for TCA levels below 0.5 ng/L, which in larger quantities can cause loss of wine character and decrease the likelihood consumers will purchase the same wine again.

Wines & Vines first wrote about the NDTech system in this blog post. The TCA-detection system is the result of five years of research, according to Amorim.

Carlos Veloso dos Santos, managing director of Amorim Cork-Italy, said the technology has made gas chromatography results available in 20 seconds rather than 24 hours, and he expects to double the production of NDTech stoppers in the next year. “Let’s hope this will become a new era of natural cork stoppers,” he said in accepting the award.

Judges also selected the DTS-Digital Control Toasting innovation from Garbellotto S.p.A. of Conegliano, Italy, for recognition in the new technology category. The automatic system manages time-temperature charts to toast casks and barriques.

Company owner Piero Garbelloto accepted the prize from Joao Onofre, head of the European Union's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. Garbelloto says the machinery will allow coopers and scientists to conduct more accurate tests on the effects of toasting on wine quality.

Comité Vins secretary general Ignacio Sanchez Recarte presented a new technologies award to winery supplier Lallemand of Montreal, Quebec. The company’s new Malotabs captured the attention of SIMEI judges for their ease of use. Lallemand says the tablets can be added to active primary fermentations in order to introduce malolactic fermentation. Each tablet contains enough active ingredient for one oak barrel fermentation. The product, created in conjunction with Eurotab, can be used for red and white still wines.

Velo Acciai’s Unico filtration system is able to treat both must and lees utilizing two filters in the same device. Judges said the new technology was affordable for small and mid-sized wineries. Unico’s advantages include reduced product losses and the filters’ low retention of color and structure. The company also claims Unico can be used on sparkling wines. 

SIMEI@drinktec will continue through Friday at Messe München. For details, visit drinktec.com.

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