FREE CHECKLIST: Top 3 barrel hygiene tips
Brettanomyces are detrimental to the quality of wine. Also known simply as "Brett" this yeast is encountered throughout wine regions all over the world. High temperature dry steam vapour which exits the machine at 6 bar pressure is the cleaning technique used to remove Brettanomyces from wine barrels, vats, tanks and bottling lines. Attentive barrel maintenance and winery cleaning contribute to the prevention of this organism.
Brettanomyces give rise to byproducts. The ones cited most frequently, are known as 4-ethyl phenol (4-EP) and 4-ethyl guaiacol (4-EG). Although Bretts can be removed from wine with filtering, this has the unfortunate effect of degrading quality of the wine itself. The 4-EP and 4-EG produced by the Brettanomyces are not filtered out- only the Bretts get removed. That means the degradation of the wine cannot be reversed- it can only be arrested by filtering.
Bretts have been found 6mm deep in barrel staves. Powerful, pressurised steam vapour is the answer, when a deep cleaning and sanitising action is required for Oak barrels. No chemicals are needed with our commercial grade cleaning equipment, so there is no foreign substance to impart an after-taste in the wine. Pressurised steam is ultra heated to 165 degrees Celsius, and exits the discharge nozzle at 6 bar pressure. This is powerful enough to penetrate deep into the staves of the wine barrel and completely destroy all contaminants, including Bretts. Our steam vapour cleaners operate without the need for chemicals.
Always sanitise new wine barrels, as well as those you continue to use. Brand new barrels can still contain Bretts. New barrels also make good breeding grounds for Brettanomyces. Yeast feeds on the high levels of wood sugars and cellulose still present in fresh barrels. When you clean new wine barrels before use, with one of our powerful steam cleaning machines configured for use in wineries, you eliminate all infections. Cold water is not an effective way to clean wine barrels, as it does not have the sanitising properties of high temperature dry steam vapour.
Older barrels are far more susceptible to a Brettanomyces outbreak, if winery hygiene has been neglected or effective barrel cleaning has not been observed. It's important to follow systematic cleaning procedures for used barrels.
The areas within a winery which are the most conducive to supporting a niche of Bretts- are those which are most difficult to access, and as a result- might not get cleaned as often or as thoroughly as they should be! Bottling lines, transfer lines, vats and tanks- as well as dirty crush equipment- are all potential breeding sites for Brettanomyces. The high pressure output from our steam cleaning equipment gets into those places which are diffeicult to access- bottling lines, corners and tight spots within production areas and grape destemmers or crushers.
The best way to remove and prevent brettanomyces is by cleaning and sanitising with dry steam vapour. Pressurised steam is the only way to kill off all yeast spores- and is effective because the high pressure drives the steam into places inaccessible using conventional cleaning methods.
To find out more or to book a no-obligation demonstration, contact us via the links below.