When Evan Schneider needed to have a large stainless steel piece cut over the Fourth of July weekend in 2013, he turned to York Machine Works in St. Helena, where he met Alex Mitchell. The two became fast friends and, after only a short amount of time, began discussing the fact that pumpover technology needed improvement (it tends to bruise fruit and cause splashing).
In 2014, Vintuitive Winemaking Tools (formerly Vinnovation LLC) announced its patent-pending LOTUS pumpover head. Manufactured using stainless steel and food-grade polyurethane, the device gently and uniformly distributes juice in tanks of any size without excessive bruising or misting. “Our goal was an even distribution of fluid over the cap of the tanks. The fluid should glide—not splash—off the device,” says Mitchell.
“Our other goal was to have relatively large droplets, which are gentler,” adds Schneider. Vintuitive offers different models of LOTUS for different tank and fitting sizes, and each model is continuously adjustable within a small range for onsite tuning. “The LOTUS is clog-free and easy to clean and disassemble,” says Schneider.
The pair worked with select local winemakers for testing throughout development.
“Alex loaned us a pumpover device for a two-week trial. After the third day, we called and told him to invoice us for it,” says Elena Franceschi, assistant winemaker at Silverado Vineyards.
Most recently, the company introduced its Square Flow Conditioner, which is designed specifically for square fermentation tanks and works in conjunction with existing LOTUS technology. “You only need one part to swap between round or square flow conditioners, so one device can do both,” says Mitchell.
LOTUS products are manufactured by York Machine Works in St. Helena and are sold by York and other select winery equipment retailers, even internationally. The company is currently looking for resellers in most major wine areas of the United States.
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Located at 1410 Neotomas Ave. in Santa Rosa,NorthBay biz magazine is a monthly business-to-business publication covering Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. This year, the magazine is celebrating 43 years of continuous operation. It originally hit the stands in 1975, when it was called Sonoma Business, and only covered Sonoma County. Norm and Joni Rosinski and John Dennis, acquired it in 2000 and changed its name to cover an expanded market. Today, the magazine is part of Amaturo Sonoma Media Group. More here..