Afrox has introduced a ground-breaking new sulphur dioxide cylinder specifically developed for the South African wine market. The unique design allows users to draw gas from the cylinder in a vertical position, using a full length dip tube, representing a major advance in terms of safety, accuracy and hygiene, compared with the traditional method of inverting cylinders in order to draw out the liquid sulphur dioxide.
“We’re very proud of this South African first, which has already proved itself at our largest wine industry customer in Uppington,” says Afrox’s Nadine Baird. “Up until now the industry has had no alternative but to dose the wine vats manually with sulphur dioxide by inverting the cylinder. This is not a safe practice, both in terms of potential cylinder malfunctions, as well as the risk of personnel inhaling the gas and the gas being released into the atmosphere with environmentally damaging consequences.”
Identifying a real need in the wine market for a more efficient sulphur dioxide dosing method, Afrox developed the unique cylinder over a period of 18 months.
“The cylinder is being marketed as part of an automated dosing system that comprises sulphur dioxide and nitrogen manifolds with dosing lines directly into the wine tanks,” Baird explains. “The direct injection system features pressure release valves that go to a scrubber, ensuring that no sulphur dioxide is released to the atmosphere. A PLC ensures accurate, repeatable dosing.”
“Winemakers can now draw gas from a cylinder in a vertical position using a full length dip tube, thanks to the innovative duo valve inside the cylinder.” A road show will be conducted in the wine regions to introduce the new cylinder to the industry and, by the end of 2012, Baird predicts that Afrox will have introduced about 700 of the new sulphur dioxide cylinders into service in the local wine industry.
Sulphur dioxide serves as an antibiotic and anti-oxidant to protect wine in production from spoilage caused by bacteria and oxidation. It also helps to keep the volatile acidity at desirable levels and plays a very important role in winery equipment sanitation.
“At Afrox, we’re aware that winemaking practices worldwide are changing and evolving rapidly,” Baird concludes. “Never before has information been so freely available and exposure to different tastes, styles and techniques been so prevalent. We’re committed to partnering our wine industry clients with innovative gas solutions that will produce world class wines.”