Case Study

French winery upgrades its traditional winemaking technique

Mouvex SLS Series eccentric disc pumps
Eccentric disc pumps bring efficiency and gentle handling to Bailly Lapierre’s winemaking process.

Bailly Lapierre relies on its long history and tradition of winemaking to create its award-winning Crémant de Bourgogne, white and rosé sparkling wines made predominantly from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Located in the winemaking Yonne Valley near the village of Saint-Bris-le-Vineux in north-central France, Bailly Lapierre annually produces 3.5 million bottles of its sparkling wines, using winemaking techniques that date back to the Roman Empire. That includes harvesting grapes by hand and producing its Crémants in subterranean caves, which the company says offer the ideal temperature, moisture and light for winemaking. But that doesn’t mean Bailly Lapierre is opposed to state-of-the-art technology. In the last decade, the company upgraded its winemaking facility with a variety of modern and automated machines, including eccentric disc pumps for all of its critical wine pressing, transfer and bottling applications.

Bailly Lapierre uses SLS Series Eccentric Disc Pumps from Mouvex as part of its winemaking process. According to the winery, the Mouvex pumps offer attributes that are ideal for winemaking: gentle product handling, volumetric consistency, ability to recover expensive products and ingredients from the tank and piping systems, and low slippage.

“Pumps are very important pieces of equipment for us,” says Mathieu Cerveau, cellarman at Bailly Lapierre. “Because we use our pumps in a variety of locations, we usually have a few that are mounted on a mobile cart so we can easily move them around the winery. We use them in our pressing center, where it’s 24/7 operation, as well as around the winery to fill tanks or transfer wine from one tank to another. In addition, we use a pump to fill all of our wine bottles. If our pumps go down, the operation stops.”

Bailly Lapierre’s winemaking process brings together the best of old-world traditions with innovative modern technology. The grapes are hand-picked and transported inside the caves of Bailly Lapierre. Staff weighs the grapes and evaluates the quality of the berries. The grapes are then emptied into designated hoppers and channeled to one of four presses, with each press devoted to a single grape variety. The cuvee, which is the juice from the initial pressing, is run into separate tanks for subsequent pressings, known as taille. After the pressings, the yeast and malolactic fermentations take place. Then blending and bottling are carried out. The bottles are stored in Bailly Lapierre’s underground cellar for 16-18 months. They are placed in special bins with rotating bases. The regular and automatic turning movement as well as the coolness and diffused light of the caves allow the wines to develop their natural sparkle.

Bailly Lapierre processes about 250 metric tons of grapes a day using the Mouvex pumps for various tasks. The pumps’ strong vacuum and compression mean they can accommodate the winery’s high flow rates. The pumps can fill tanks with large volumes of liquid as well as transfer the liquids across 40 meters of piping to different tanks for fermentation, filtering and bottling with volumetric efficiency and consistency. In addition, because the pumps operate almost completely pulsation-free, with minimal shear and with no slippage, the pumps handle the liquids gently with no emulsification or exposure to oxygen.

“But the best benefit for us is the higher rate of product recovery,” Cerveau says. “The Mouvex pump can completely drain all of the juice from the piping and from inside the tanks. It’s important that we able to drain all of the juice from the piping system and tanks. This juice is the lifeblood of the wine.”

To maximize product recovery, the pump uses a static cylinder and moving piston driven by an eccentric shaft, which generates a circular movement. As the eccentric shaft rotates, the inner and outer chambers are formed, which displace the liquid from the suction side to the discharge side with consistent and accurate flow. Given that the pump can run dry, the rotation of the parts creates a compressor effect that strips the discharge lines.

“The Mouvex pump is the most efficient solution to totally draining our piping, not only for our pressing operation, but transferring and bottling as well,” Cerveau says. “The pump can easily push all of the wine out of a tank and into our bottling workshop.”

According to Mouvex, the pump was designed specifically for the hygienic requirements of the food and beverage industry. It has no seals, reducing the risk of product contamination and costly leakage. The seal-less design also incorporates a hermetic pump head with a self-adjustable eccentric shaft protected by double-wall stainless-steel bellows that ensures long life and product safety. This design has helped the SLS Series pumps earn certification from EC 1935/2004, EHEDG, 3A and FDA for use in food processing applications.

While Bailly Lapierre continues to use many of its old-world techniques to produce its sparkling wines, the Mouvex pumps now play a critical role at the winery. “Overall, we are extremely happy with the Mouvex pumps,” Cerveau says. “We produce about 3.5 million bottles of wine each year, and a Mouvex pump now fills each and every one of them. We wouldn’t be able to operate without them.”

Companies in this article

Joyce's Voice Newsletter

Subscribe now to receive Joyce Fassl’s weekly e-newsletter focusing on the industry’s most pressing manufacturing and operations stories.