Tecnología Difusión Ibérica, at the top of the future of oenological analysis
“OUR OBJECTIVE IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF EQUIPMENT THAT DEMOCRATICES OENOLOGY AND ADAPTS TO THE NEEDS AND QUALITY OF EACH LABORATORY OR WINE CELLAR”
If there is a sector with specific and very specific needs in the wine industry, it is that of oenological analysis. And, before that, what could be better than discovering its intricacies at the hands of the first enological analytical company that existed in Spain? Tecnología Difusión Ibérica (TDI) opens the doors of his home to show us in depth and all the widest range of products that exists: theirs.
iSnce its beginnings, TDI has been a pioneer in the Spanish market for winemaking analytics, a market in which in 1986, the year in which Jordi Subirana founded the company, everything was still to be done: “From TDI, we offer and support oenology. Above all, the most chemical branch through the automation of equipment, both in the laboratory and in the cellar”, tells us Blas Martínez, technical management and responsible for Export of TDI.
The company is the creator of the technique of chemical analyzers, who better knows it and who better dominates it. Since its founding it has not stopped providing oenological innovations: in 1994, the sequential chemical analyzers (enzymatic and colorimetric); in 2002, the medium infrared analyzers (IRTF) after having collaborated in its development and tuning in France since 1997; and in 2006, TDI industrialized a rapid filtration system for must in the reception of vintages, the Mostonet.
“The wine market requires very specific products and that is what we offer”, clarifies Martínez. Being a family company, TDI offers that much-needed flexibility in a market such as wine, without ever forgetting the quality, rigor and means of a large company.
And despite being and maintaining the character of a family business, TDI has business facilities since 2016 that have nothing to envy a multinational. That same year the company doubled the size of its previous headquarters with the intention of offering the best possible service to all its customers.
The most complete range of the market
If something makes TDI special is its adaptability, it offers the widest range of products that can range from the most sophisticated analyzer to a simple titrator. In addition, it is the only company able to offer chemical analyzers at the same time (enzymatic and colorimetric), specific reagents for oenology, titrators and analyzers by IRTF. Only they can say that they are the only company in the world dedicated exclusively to making oenological material.
“If we delve into our products, to start we must talk about the range of IRTF equipment, infrared for physical measurement, (Bacchus 1, Bacchus 2, Bacchus 3 and Bacchus 3 MultiSpec)”, says the technical director and responsible for Exportation of TDI. All of them are destined especially for the analysis in controls of maturation, reception in vintages, musts and musts in fermentation, finished wines and natural sweet wines. “In this line, the NIR equipment for the measurement of alcohol, its density and dry extract (AlcoQuick 4000) is based on a method of measurement by spectroscopy, which allows a direct measurement of ethanol in wines, using wavelengths chosen especially in the near infrared (NIR)”.
Another large group of equipment are the automatic chemical analyzers, with the Miura range as the protagonist (Miura One for small wineries and Miura 200 for high performance), which replace the pioneer LISA 200 and the semiautomatic analyzer Jolly 102 Color. Both the Miura and the Jolly perform chemical analyzes of enzymatic, colorimetric and turbidimetric type for all types of wines and musts. “These equipment require supplementary material, reagents and patterns, which have as a final result a more complete product. According to the needs of each client, we advise which are the equipment and the accessories that best adapt”, highlights us Blas Martínez.
“On the other hand, we have a range of titrators. In it we offer a model (ATP 3000) for large laboratories that calculates pH and total acidity at high speed, another more generic model (FLASH) that can be adapted to small and medium sized cellars for the analysis of pH, total acidity and sulfur free and total and the Eno20 titrator, in its two manual and automatic versions that allows the analysis of sulphides. Our range is completed with more specific and specific analyzers such as the CrioSmart for tartaric stability, the DE2000 for the extraction of alcohol and volatile acidity and the MostoNet filter.”
In this line of things, it is always worth remembering that TDI has the most complete range of oenological reagents on the market “covering both the enzymatic and the colorimetric part”, Blas Martínez specifies. Initially TDI manufactured in France and Italy the whole range of reagents, but since 2010 it was decided to move the production to the central company in Spain: “The reagents are very sensitive material, so we repatriated all the manufacturing to be more efficient and faster, taking full control of the production and thus avoiding errors. Since then we have greater ability to react to problems because it is essential for us to always be at the side of our customers and help them with any surprise”.
The Quality Policy, essential
“Our Quality Policy is based on efficiency in the service and speed”, proudly affirms the technical director of the company. The management of Tecnología Difusión Ibérica is committed to establish, implement and keep updated a Quality Policy through the Quality System defined according to the Reference Standard ISO 9001:2015. In this sense, the activities that TDI undertakes to carry out effectively are the commercialization of analyzers for oenology, the manufacture and commercialization of reagents and the technical assistance service.
“From TDI we advise the client from the first contact. We know your needs and we offer what you really need. Sometimes we find ourselves with demands that do not correspond to real needs. Our function is to listen, understand what you are looking for and what the client needs to measure and, in the end, offer you the best solution and the one that best suits your work”, explains Martínez.
To advise the most appropriate instrument for each need and to perform its proper maintenance, TDI’s customer service operates in the field, almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: “Our policy of action is always the same, if we can solve the problem by telephone and as soon as possible, we do it. The customer never speaks with a switchboard, he speaks directly with a technician who advises him on how to solve the problem remotely or through our remote system. If the technical intervention of the technician is required, this is the next step”.
TDI has five technical assistance points, one in Madrid, another in Barcelona, another in Logroño, one more in Ciudad Real and a fifth in Paris. The stock of spare parts is large enough so that most repairs can be made in less than 48 hours: “We are very proud to be able to say that in 98% of the cases in which technicians go to solve a problem, we repair it at once. We have stock for 80% of the parts to be repaired of our equipment. The remaining 20% are pieces that rarely break down because they are mechanical components of the device own structure”.
Arriving, repairing and allowing the client to continue working, that’s the goal: “Being able to achieve this in a sector like the wine industry is paramount since the economic loss that can occur when having the machines stopped one only day in time of vintage is enormous”, points out the technical director.
Research and development, the key
Another of TDI’s great strengths is its commitment to research. “We always investigate, the R & D department is essential and thanks to it we have made great advances and we have launched very powerful innovations. In 2017 he joined the company’s research team Mario Weibel, doctorated in chemical engineering and long-distance researcher, who works intensely in the improvement of the reagents that we already have and in which in the future we will have, as well as in the development of other fields and new products. In addition, at TDI we specialize in adapting equipment from other sectors, especially in the clinical field. We study them, adapt them to the oenological sector and ask their manufacturer to make the necessary modifications. In this sense, we are working on the development of software to be able to make applications that until now could not be done. To give an example, we are currently working on the LED technique applied to our Bacchus analyzers”.
The needs of the oenologist, always present
The oenological analytic is a relatively new subject in the sector, but sufficiently extended so that any oenologist does not have certain equipment. “To fully analyze the entire portion of the acids and sugars in wine and must an oenologist must have, as basic instruments, a small titrator and a photometer. The Eno20 titrator has always opened many doors for us in small cellars since with a single unit we can analyze the free sulfur dioxide and the total sulphurous, completely eliminating the problem of the appreciation of the turn and of the phenolic interferences”.
Although many small wine cellars look for manual systems, in many cases TDI advises them with automatic equipment since the speed and efficiency is much higher: “These smallwine cellars sometimes have more than 200 barrels to control and analyze them one by one is an unnecessary waste of time, in addition to the economic savings in reactive that supposes an automatic or semiautomatic system. A single kit, in the smallest of our Miura analyzers, can perform up to 400 analyzes. If it is done by spectrum, this same kit only reaches up to 25 analyzes”.
But in this context, what role does the price play in the Spanish market? “It is a very important factor. It is a competitive market but prices must justify everything that is behind a team: research, workers, quality, manufacturing… A price too low can trigger a dangerous game where the necessary margins are eliminated so that the companies work. Therefore, it would be necessary to change the chip and understand what is behind wine services and equipment”.
Oenological analysis and food safety
Food security does not refer only to the availability of food, but also includes the access of people to them and the biological use of them. Therefore, this security is also essential in the wine sector: “Knowledge is power. The functions of analysis and control of what happens in wine respond to the needs of food security. That a wine is piqued, that the machines used are the correct ones so that no components are mixed, that the bottles do not appear inconvenient, that the second fermentation does not entail health problems…
The Miura 200 high-performance chemical analyzer is one of TDI’s crown jewels. The company continues to research to optimize its qualities.
Having control over the entire production process is achieved through analysis systems and TDI offers all the tools to guarantee this control”.
Spain, at the same level as the rest of the world?
Spain is one of the countries with the greatest wine tradition, besides being one of the largest producers in the world, but does this translate into a privileged oenological position? “The level of equipment of the Spanish wineries is good. From TDI we are present in France, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece and Croatia, among others, and we are in the process of entering the German and Australian markets. While it is true that both in Italy and France have a philosophy of greater oenological analysis and that their laboratories are extremely well equipped, Spain is not so far from them. Obviously, we could say that we still lack a bit, but we should not underestimate it since there are few areas where wineries are more advanced than ours. In this sense, anyway, the change in the last decade has been enormous. The current philosophy of the winemaker is very different from that of 15 years ago, when I came to the sector. At that time they only wanted -or could- investigate the larger wineries, but now even the smallest wineries do their research and an exhaustive follow-up of their elaboration process. The demand for oenological equipment has increased greatly due to this greater interest and, above all, to the increase in the quality of the wines. In any case, much remains to be done and a long way to go”.
The future of oenology
Sulfur dioxide is a chemical compound of sulfur and oxygen, the additive most widely used in winemaking and also the most controversial is raising in recent years. As indicated by Blas Martínez, obtaining not harmful sulfides is one of the most interesting research projects in the sector. In this sense, the development of new reagents will be linked to these investigations.
“I have a lot of confidence in the development of infrared systems because I think they can be a big boom for the sector: new analytes, new research… On my last trip to Australia several clients were interested in these equipment but, surprisingly, they did not want them to measure the wine but to control the ripening of the grapes. Thus, until now the analytical was only for the ‘subsequent’ control but, from now on, it must also be for a ‘previous’ control. To do this, we must improve the techniques currently applied and develop new analysis formulas since at this moment we only control 60% of the parameters”.
In another way, climate change is changing the way wine is made and analyzed, “what should be transformed into a better management, both in the vine itself and in the laboratory”, said Martínez, an example of which is “the need to increase the analysis of the grape during its maturation process, in the must and in the own wine. That is to say, anticipate and know what happens in the grapes since they are in the vineyard to understand why it happens what happens later.”
This climate change is changing the dates of harvest and the alcoholic degree of the grape is increasing, with the widely known problem of the gap between technological maturity and phenolic maturity: “That the climate changes causes the ripening of the grape go ahead or be delayed, and that is not easy to evaluate and repair once this grape is already in the cellar. Therefore, future analyzes must go through controlling the grape in all its states”.
nterview with Blas Martínez (technical management and responsible for Export of TDI) by Nina Jareño for the magazine ENEO.