Armenia: Noah’s legacy is in safe hands

A journey to Armenia through the stunning history of Karas winery, where Oenodia will be soon commissioning a brand-new unit.

Where does the vine come from? Where did Noah plant the first one? Where was Vitis vinifera first found in its primitive form? Minor Asia, Georgia, Armenia? Fascinating questions!

Let’s travel to Armenia a moment, where Oenodia will be installing the country’s first STARS unit next July. A discreet country, that has stayed out of the wine world’ turmoil, but whose oenological revival, initiated 20 years ago, is more than worth the interest.

 

With substantial export sales, Karas winery is a major actor of that rebirth. Gabriel Rogel, its adventurous Argentinian winemaker, now working for 7 years at Karas, has kindly agreed to share his experience and to give us some insight of the Armenian wine industry.

 

  • What was Armenian viticulture back in the 90s?

At the fall of the Soviet Union, while Georgia was principally producing wine, viticulture was mostly dedicated to brandy in Armenia. The little amount of wine that was produced was typically entry-level sweet red and was sold locally”.

 

  • In that context, how came the first spark of the Karas project?

Karas is all about a family coming back home. After a stunning history in Argentina, and fortified by the earlier success of Bodega del Fin del Mundo in Neuquén, the Eurnekian family decided to renew its roots within its homeland.

Back in 2002, the initial project entailed planting vines to provide premium grapes for the brandy industry. The region of Armavir happens to be the idyllic place, and its unique volcanic terroir prompted the family to try a couple fermentations, first with local grapes varieties, then planting international ones. The successful results of those trials were the spark to move forward and our first wine was released in 2010.”

 

  • Do you intend to promote local grape varieties?

We do believe in local varieties and take advantage of their diversity in many blends, combined with international varieties.

More than most, the Areni is definitely the emblematic red variety in Armenia. Its delicate profile and herbal freshness show a great potential that we keep on mastering, year after year, by selecting our own plant material from older vines.

Another major red variety is the Sireni. Colorful and full-bodied, it makes a singular synergy blended with the Areni.

 

  • How does this choice influence your offer and how does it fit with your sales expectations?

Both our blends and mono-varietals are a success, on the national as well as on the international market, and it’s actually difficult to keep up with the demand.

If 60% of our sales goes national, we intend to swap that figure to the export market in a few years. The Armenian diaspora is widespread, especially in the USA and Western Europe, and especially faithful to Armenian wines. That’s obviously the channels we’re aiming at.

 

  • What’s your vision for the Armenian wine industry in the near future?

Armenia holds many terroirs and varieties, and we’re constantly learning to make the most of its incredible potential.

Wine history is here more than anywhere, and today we are reinventing winemaking to share, worldwide, the best our terroirs have to offer.

Karas in not alone. New investors, renown consultants and diligent winemakers have been working hard lately and all contribute to the rebirth and recognition of Armenian wines.

 

Gabriel Rogel, winemaker at Karas Winery, Armenia, interviewed by Aikouch Tchilingaryan, director of Eurodia Kuban, Russia.

 

 

2020 Brazilian harvest: Never had it so good

The southern State of Rio Grande do Sul produces 90% of Brazilian wine. The harvest period there is one of the longest in the worlds, lasting over 3 months. Let’s cast a light on the 2020 vintage.

 

Every year, the harvest starts in December with the earlier varietals: Pinot noir, Chardonnay et Riesling itálico. They’ll make up the bulk of base wines for Brazilian sparkling wines, the lovely local “espumantes”.

In January, Pinot noir and Chardonnay for still wines are harvested. Merlot comes up early February; eventually, end of February and early March, Marselan, Cabernet and Tannat join the rest of the gang in the fermentation tanks.

 

Source / Crédit: [2]

A late harvest

The 2019-2020 Brazilian summer allowed for a late harvest. It was dry – rains were infrequent, sporadic and very local – and let the grapes ripen fully and reach a good balance between sugar and acidity. The average grape sugar rate improved notable, from 13°Babo in 2019 to 16°Babo in 2020 (from 14,5 to 17,8° Brix). “This is the best harvest of the last 20 years”, marvels Mauro Zanus, an agronomist for the Brazilian agronomic research institute Embrapa Uva e Vinho.

Lesser, but better

695 million kilos of grapes have been harvested this year in Rio Grande do Sul, -down 11% from 2019. The production decline is due to the coulure, phenomenon, where part of the vine flowers remain unfecundated, because of rains during flowering, between October and November. This will not dampen the joy of Brazilian winemakers, now caring for this highly qualitative harvest inside their wineries. How about we pour you a glass?

 

Um abraço,

Renata for the Oenodia team

 

 

1 https://catracalivre.com.br/viagem-livre/colheita-da-uva-e-uma-das-atracoes-do-verao-na-serra-gaucha/

2 https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Valedosvinhedos1.jpg

3 https://www.ibravin.org.br/admin/arquivos/estatisticas/1564503491.pdf

4http://pioneiro.clicrbs.com.br/rs/economia/noticia/2020/03/qualidade-da-uva-coloca-a-safra-2020-como-a-melhor-dos-ultimos-anos-na-serra-gaucha-12193187.html

Main picture : mapadomundo.org

STARSXF® offers unparalleled efficiency. Three days of plate and frame filtering and a month of cold stability was accomplished in 5 hours!

This, according to Jason McConnell, Owner and Winemaker at RIVINO Winery, following his first time utilizing Oenodia’s STARSXF®, which streamlines wine stabilization with crossflow filtration in a single pass.

 

April 22, 2020.  Napa, CA.  STARSXF® is part of the STARS Line of technologies, pairing OENODIA’s specific crossflow filter with their STARSStab unit.   Over the past few months, several winemakers have employed the process through OENODIA’s STARS Mobile Service.  A few have offered insight into their experience and its effectiveness in delivering a continuous process of filtration directly followed by tartrate stabilization.

Jason McConnell was among these winemakers who utilized the technology.  He had seen it used at another winery and was impressed by how quickly and efficiently the cold stability process could be conducted.  Ashley Highland, Consultant Winemaker from J Curtis, who also utilized the technology for the first time, had been watching STARSXF® for a while.  “When I stepped into a friend’s winery in Washington and they were running their STARSXF® machine, I noticed how polished the wines looked and thought how wonderful it was that you can filter and stabilize in one pass.”

By merging the two processes into a single pass, STARSXF® delivers the well-known advantages of both technologies, eliminating DE and KHT seeding but also reducing drastically both the cold stabilization stage, and the wine losses.  In addition, from a planning perspective, when you need a mobile service to handle both the crossflow filtration and the tartaric stabilization of your wines, it is much easier to plan when you have only one contact person.

“The process sped up the preparation time needed pre-bottling and left the wine more whole organoleptically” said Ashley.   McConnell agreed, “We were able to get our wines to market faster than ever before.” He added “The wines tasted great and have over the months since the trial, tasted even better.”

STARSXF® also offers operational flexibility and easier tank management while retaining respect for the wines.  “I have had tanks that were on cold for 6+ weeks and the DO pick-up they had, regardless of daily gassing, was too big for comfort.” Ashley said.  “In addition to the draw on electricity” she added “I felt like there must be a better way for the wine and the environment.  It is hard on a wine to be held so cold and then seeded, I would sometimes see cot strip the wine in a small way.”

Following her experience with STARSXF® Ashley noted “I purchase wine from all over the West coast and have to tanker the wine to a central location for blending and finishing. To have one less move is better for the wine’s quality. It was an extreme cost savings to crossflow and cold stab at the same time. Less than half the cost of filtration and traditional cold stabilization. Better for the wine and better for energy consumption”.

In conclusion, with respect to overall satisfaction both Jason and Ashley were conclusive in their opinion.  Ashland was “beyond satisfied and I will use this in the future on all my wines where applicable.”

Jason went further adding: “I was completely satisfied with all aspects of the operation and hopefully will be able to purchase a unit for our new winemaking facility. Until that happens we will also be return customers for using their mobile service.  I would definitely recommend this service and/or purchasing this equipment.”

For technical information, availability or service, contact Damien Monnet, Business Development Manager for OENODIA at Damien.monnet@oenodia.com at 707-302-4554 or STARS Mobile Service Manager, Cliff Burmester at Cliff.burmester@oenodia.com, 707-666-2049.  Or visit them online at www.oenodia.us

TecnoEquip & Oenodia reciben sus embajadores españoles en Provence

La convención ibérica se enfocó en las oportunidades de la tecnología STARS® para la estabilización tartárica en España.

 

2019 fue una vendimia complicada y heterogenia en España. Un verano tórrido, incendios al oeste de Madrid, lluvias fuertes en septiembre en varias partes del país… Pero la uva se cosechó, las fermentaciones se acabaron y ahora disfrutamos del trabajo hecho y bien hecho. Y a pesar de los bajos volúmenes, la vendimia resultó igual bastante cualitativa.

Oenodia y su socio español TecnoEquip aprovecharon el final de esta temporada para invitar los embajadores regionales de la tecnología STARS en su sede en Provence. En la agenda: visita de los talleres, charlas técnicas alrededor de la estabilización tartárica, visita de Château Coussin (una referencia en Provence) y no hace falta comentarlo, ¡catas!

 

Una gran mesa redonda permitió compartir los últimos éxitos en España como en Portugal, pero también en Australia y en los EE.UU. Y efectivamente, más allá de sus 25 años al servicio de las bodegas, STARS está presente en todos los continentes y sobre todos los tipos de vino para garantizar la ausencia de cristales y así asegurar los mercados de exportación. Varias bodegas españolas ya llevan años aprovechando la tecnología, en particular en Cataluña. Varias más están a punto de dar el salto, entre problemáticas asociadas de pH, de calcio, en un contexto de competición internacional siempre más exigente.

De Galicia hasta Andalucía, de Aragón y Rioja hasta la Extremadura, pasando por Castilla-León, la presencia regional es una excelente oportunidad para tener esas soluciones a alcance de mano. Una nueva herramienta para que nuestras bodegas puedan aprovechar las tecnologías que mejoren su competitividad.

 

Como dice Pere Canals, fundador y director de TecnoEquip, “el sector vinícola español tiene una realidad diversa, rica y singular. La flexibilidad de la tecnología STARS® abre en consecuencia muchas oportunidades”. ¡Seguimos confiando que el futuro le dé la razón!

You’ve got the juice: we’ve got the Stars® to make it stable.

Our Stars® technology can stabilize grape juice as well as wine. Let’s zoom in on how one of our US customers gets his juice flowing from the berry to the bottle.

Healthier than sodas and just as refreshing, fruit juices are on the rise. Within the global beverage industry, the fruit juice segment is one of the fastest growing with an expected 6% annual growth rate between 2018 and 2025[1] – and grape juice is not sitting on the sidelines. With a wholesome, natural image and mounting evidence regarding health benefits[2], grape juice consumption is on the rise.

However, despite substantial growth (and an expected + 2% annually until 2023[3]), the grape juice market is tough. Global competition, unpredictable harvest variations and growing expectations from industrial buyers and customers alike mean that each producer is seeking to grow and maintain its competitive edge. For one of our US-based customers, this means developing the high-end segment of NFC (not from concentrate) juice and making sure the product arrives and remains picture-perfect, aka tartrate crystal-free, on the shelves of USA’s biggest retailers.

 

How does the Stars® technology fit in our customer’s grape juice production process? The fresh, ripe grapes are harvested and taken to the production plant. They are then cleaned, sorted and crushed before being pressed. The juice undergoes clarification, after which it is Stars®-stabilized.

What drew our customer to the Stars® technology? Compared to cold stabilization, Stars® is first of all incredibly more reliable – knowing that cold stab hardly allows to reach required stability levels. Moreover, Stars® saves time, energy and money. Notably, the cut in juice loss drastically slashes costs.  Gone as well the costs of the time-eating, energy-greedy, cold-holding step. Last but not least, the Stars® technology’s unrivalled reliability ensures no product return due to tartrate issues – quite an asset in a fiercely competitive market.

[1] https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/fruit-vegetable-juice-market

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2728694/

[3] https://www.statista.com/outlook/20030500/102/grape-juice/europe