As winemakers, we often believe the more blood, sweat, and tears we pour into our grapes, the more worthy they are of that coveted Reserve label.
Unfortunately, not all grapes have reserve quality. It is inevitable that bacteria will grow, birds will peck, and bad weather will strike. On the worst days, you may stand helpless, watching the smoke from wildfires roll over your harvest. The Flash Détente process can not only heal the wounds from these hiccups from vintage to vintage, but help improve quality and add winemaking tools to your cellar.
Flash Détente has accrued a reputation only as a “quick fix” for compromised fruit or a last resort on a salvage mission to finish the harvest. After a decade of personally working with Flash and 30 years in the winemaking industry, I can tell you this revolutionary technology is so much more than that.
My own journey with Flash began 10 years ago. The vineyard I was working for wanted five wines from just one vineyard and three varietals, including a “Reserve.” I felt like I was trying to make too many shirts out of the same piece of cloth, each a little shorter, a little more frayed than the last. When I came across this exciting new Flash technology, I discovered I could create five distinct wines, each with their own density, flavor, and tannin profile. Best of all, they now had different styles by using only 5-10% of flashed wine in the blends. The opportunities became endless.
At the time, large wineries had sole access to Flash services, which required a 30-ton minimum to start up. As a winemaker for smaller scale boutique wineries, I wanted to change that dynamic. I wanted to give myself, and all small wineries, the same opportunities for diversity as their large-scale competitors.
Thus, I created Flash Wine Technologies in 2012, which can process as little as 10 tons. Flash Détente extracts color and flavor from grapes through a rapid heating and cooling process in which steam containing the undesirable flavors— vegetal, underripe, moldy, or smokey notes—are “blown off.”
This steam removal will increase Brix by two to four degrees, concentrating and freshening the flavors.
The acids, sugars, and tannins from the grapes are suddenly transformed—they became rich and fruit forward, with their structure, terroir, and soul very much intact. Most clients who choose to press the flashed must do so within twelve to twenty-four hours after processing as 100% of the color and tannins are extracted immediately. The juice can then be added to an existing fermentation, poured over a cap of skins that has been drained of its free-run, or even barrel fermented if space is limited.
We now have over seventy-five wineries using our services for many applications, and certainly not just to repair damage. They are making the best of their wines even better. Sure, Flash can improve lackluster grapes enough to become drinkable, but keep in mind that it brings out the bolder and richer flavors from any grape. Our customers keep coming back, bringing new clients each year. Says one satisfied customer and owner of a luxury wine brand, “For years, our reserve Cab Franc came only from the vineyard’s best blocks. I was recommended to try Flash Détente to elevate the underperforming areas and can now include the entire vineyard into the reserve blend. We’ve utilized flash every harvest since.”
Let us help peel back the layers to get to the very heart of your wine. Your crop, your customers, and your legacy deserve it.