Concentration and rectification of grape must in situ to replace imported sugars in the production of sparkling wines.
The MCR LOCAL project demonstrates the technical and economic feasibility of a compact and mobile process for the concentration of rectified concentrated must (RCM) in the wineries of the Penedès area, reducing economic costs and the associated carbon footprint in comparison to the use of sugar, or to the RCM produced outside the territory of application.
The pilot will consist of three technological modules: ultrafiltration, ion exchange resins, and evaporation. The presence of the pilot at the cellars at the time of the harvest would eliminate the need of stabilization of the must with sulphite reducing the economic cost of the reagents used in the regeneration of the resins, which are saturated with sulphite very quickly.
For this reason, the project includes a treatment phase for sulphite must and one for non-sulphite must. During the project a theoretical scale-up of the technology will be carried out in order to assess the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of its implementation on a full scale.
The production of cava requires the addition of sugar for the second fermentation and the expedition liqueur usually sourced from outside the European continent. At the same time, in the Penedès region, there is an overproduction of grapes leading to significant economic losses. By processing the surplus grapes, rectified concentrated must (RCM) can be obtained. RCM is a dense, colorless, clean, physically and chemically stable liquid with a high sugar content.
This product can substitute sugar in the cava production process, resulting in positive environmental and economic impacts and promoting a circular economy. Currently, the majority of Catalan wineries rely on RCM produced by companies located outside Catalonia, specifically in Castilla-La Mancha, sometimes processing the surplus grape must from Catalan wineries.
The distance between the wineries and RCM producers requires must stabilization (sulphitation) and the transportation of must and RCM, resulting in a considerable environmental impact on the sector.
Eurecat participates in the LOCAL MCR project through its units of Water, Air and Soil (WAS) and Waste, Energy and Environmental Impact (WEEI), in charge of the definition of requirements, design and construction of the prototype, as well as of the study of the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of the technology.
The project is coordinated by the Catalan wine cluster INNOVI. The operational group is led by González Byass and counts with the participation of Juvé y Camps, Gramona and with the support of Eurecat.