Shawn Bruce, Assistant Winemaker for Cima Collina Winery, demonstrates how wine is pumped from barrel to tank in preparation for bottling.
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More on the “Bulldog”, and how it was introduced to the wine industry:
The Bulldog Pup In the mid-1980s, California Pinot Noir was something of a novelty, and it wasn’t uncommon to find rustic winemaking equipment at most wineries. In 1986, however, Don Othman released a new racking wand that he designed to be gentler on both the wine and the barrel. “You have to have reverence for the wine and reverence for the barrel,” Othman told Wines & Vines.
A skilled engineer and metal fabricator who came to San Luis Obispo, Calif., in 1974, Othman had been inspired by a separate innovation, the silicone bung. The new technology could compress against the bunghole, forming a seal. Othman designed a racking wand with a gas inlet tube and wine outlet tube in the same stainless steel cylinder. The bung formed a seal, and when inert gas entered the barrel via the inlet, it forced clean wine to flow up the outlet pipe under pressure.
Othman visited winery clients with a portable welding rig on his 1950 A20H-model Mack truck, which can be recognized by its bulldog hood ornaments. He called his fabrication company Bulldog Manufacturing, and he named the new racking wand the Bulldog Pup.
The Bulldog Pup proved to be a hit with winemakers, and Othman applied for a patent soon after releasing it. Unfortunately for Othman, the U.S. Patent Office deemed the device too simple for a patent. “Obviously, they just didn’t know anything about making wine,” he said.
That wand has since been sold to wineries around the world and can be found on the fittings board of many premium wineries. Before the development of pressurizing racking wands, most winemakers used either gravity or their pumps to rack clean wine off sediment. “Every pump, no matter what it is, is going to bring a certain amount of shear to your wine,” Othman said.
The design of the Bulldog Pup took off, and many variants of pressurizing racking wands are on the market today. “Anybody who is anybody in Pinot Noir has to push with gas,” he said. Still, Othman is surprised by how the technology has been embraced by more than just Pinot houses. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the Bulldog Pup would go from Pinot Noir and run the gamut of wine.” Othman and a buddy still assemble and weld each Pup by hand. He reported that demand remains strong, and the trend of craft breweries using barrels has opened up a new source of clients.
Read more at: https://www.winesandvines.com/sections/printout_article.cfm?article=feature&content=172444
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