The two-year research project Govalmavin, which began in August 2018, has finally ended, a project carried out by the Institute of Technical Ceramics (ITC) in the field of wine, which received financial support from the European Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and was co-financed by the European Union.
Image courtesy of: Penin Guide Spain
Govalmavin has been working on new technology ceramic vessels that can be used to produce and mature high quality wines while allowing for the production of wines that are significantly different in flavor expression from those matured in oak barrels.
The Govalmavin innovation project delved into the performance of traditional and new technology clay pots in the production and maturation of quality wines, starting from the specific characteristics of both types of pots, considering their porosity, pore size, permeability (or microstructure). Thus, they more fully understood the mechanical properties of traditional clay pots and adopted different means to ensure that the final developed pots could be used repeatedly. Ultimately, two ceramic formulations based on red clay have been developed and "new technology" pots have been designed with sufficient performance to establish protocols for manufacturing high-capacity pots with improved dimensional stability to make their industrial production possible, thereby increasing the productivity that manufacturers can currently offer.
In addition, Govalmavin focused on three other technical aspects: the inner coating of the ceramic jars, the closure system and the cleaning method. They have developed an internal coating of a natural material that not only provides different characteristics to the wine, but also directly affects the oxygen permeability of the ceramic itself.
They eventually compared the sensory aspects of wines matured in clay pots with those matured in oak barrels and concluded that clay pots reduce the astringency and bitterness of the plant itself, making the wines more refreshing, fruity, silky and with a long lasting aftertaste. They conducted research in Europe with consumers in two countries, Spain and Poland, and the final results showed that consumers gave very positive comments about this new experience and the commercial concepts of clay pots, fruitiness, and freshness.