Food and beverage
25th Oct 2022

The 3 most important things to look for in a wine filter

Did you know that 80% of all wine, by volume, is now sterile filtered? 15 years ago, it was just 20%.

Wine filters play a key role in the manufacturing process. Picking the right one ensures quality, consistency, and cost-effectiveness.

Why is Filtration Important in Wine Production?

Wine filtration isn’t about getting the flavour right (though that can be a factor) – wine filtration is all about ensuring consistent quality, just like any other food and beverage filtration process.

Spoilage organisms in bottled wine are capable of growing in low pH and anaerobic conditions. These include lactic acid bacteria and fermenting yeasts such as Brettanomyces bruxellensis or Acetobacter oeni. They can ruin wine by causing off flavours and haze or cloudiness. And worse, contamination from strongly fermenting yeasts can cause bottles to explode.

Effective wine filtration protects your final product from contamination. But, with so many filters on the market, how do you choose the right one? Here are three things you should look for in a wine filter.

What to Look for in a Wine Filter

1. The Correct Micron Rating

Wine filtration is a multi-stage process, which means there are different times in which a particular filtration type makes more sense than others. The smallest particles in wine are colloidal or precipitated proteins, which are about 0.2 to 5 microns, compared to yeast and bacteria, which are in the 0.65 to 3 microns range. Grape solids and fining agents can be hundreds of microns in size.

Regardless of your filtration process, your filters must be validated correctly to ensure they can remove these contaminants effectively.

Micron ratings by wine

You need different micron ratings for red and white wines

  • Red wines: Membrane filtration down to 0.65µm
  • White wines: 0.45µm is typically used

Is filtration management on your food and drink production lines good enough? Learn how to make it better in our guide.

2. Optimal Throughput

Achieving optimal throughput means more than filtering as much wine as possible. It’s about balancing efficiency, filtration quality, and cost. As such, one of the most important things to look for in a wine filter is that it both does its own job, and also works holistically with your entire production process.

Every wine, especially complex reds, differs in filterability. Sometimes a filtration system based on a simple single-layer membrane filter to eliminate spoilage organisms lacks the capacity for the volume throughput. In these situations, it’s important to consider additional or improved pre-filtration stages.

Alternatively, consider filters with built-in pre-filtration. This is typically in the form of either a more open membrane or an integrated depth media to guarantee throughout as well as quality. These dual-layer filters can have two layers with different micron ratings, e.g. 1.2 onto a 0.65.

3. Longevity

To get the most out of your wine filtration system, you must process multiple batches of wine through the same filter. To achieve this, you need to make sure that you can regenerate and unblock your filters with simple cleaning solutions. This allows you to reuse filters for multiple batches, so you can get as much use out of them as possible.

The filters must be robust and compatible with typical cleaning solutions. If the cartridge is damaged when cleaned with hot water sanitisation or steam, you’ll find yourself replacing them more often, which interrupts production and costs extra.

Wine Filtration is a Balance of Factors

Managing production costs and quality is a constant balancing act for wine manufacturers. The right wine filter can make that balancing act much easier. We believe that the right filtration solution isn’t always the cheapest – it’s the one that offers the best possible long-term value for your operation. Correctly validated filters, installed in a system that optimises throughput, and guarantees cost-effectiveness offer lifetime savings that you can reinvest into your businesses.

By shifting the focus to lifetime savings, you can ensure consistent, high-quality output without impairing production; all whilst maintaining the delicate balance of quality and efficiency.

Sign-up to our newsletter for the latest news and information straight to your inbox.