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Extract The Best From Your Vineyard

Flash Wine Technologies Northern California’s Top-Rated Operator of Flash Détente since 2012

The Many Benefits of Flash

Maximum Color Extraction

Rapid heating, then vacuum cooling will rupture the cell walls of the grape skins instantly releasing the color pigments and making them available for stabilization. The color is fantastic on all red varieties.

Eliminate Undesirable Flavors

In the vacuum tank steam is released and removed taking with it the off-flavors from rot or mold, smoke, or pyrazines. The wine will be fresh and fruit forward.

Increase Brix

As the steam is removed from the flashed must it is collected through a condenser chamber. This flash water can be as much as 4% of the liquid thus concentrating the sugars. We have increased some lots by as much as 4 degrees.

Eliminate Damage from Botrytis or Laccase

For a very short time the must will achieve temperatures nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time proteins will be denatured, bacteria killed, and yeasts made inactive. The product is essentially sterile and ready for fermentation.

Smoke Taint Removal

Flash water removed from the vacuum tank will take away guaiacol and 4methylguaiacol. The levels of guaiacol do not recur as the wine ages. Fruit from extreme conditions in past vintages makes full recovery.

Diversification

From a single vineyard or microclimate many different fermentation options can bring new flavor profiles and textures to your cellar. Some of these are conventional fruit co-fermented with flashed fruit or juice, adding flashed juice to a previously used cap, or barrel fermenting red wines.

Rudy Zuidema Explaining Flash Détente in a Winery Barrel Room

Discover The Diverse Applications

Flash Wine Technologies is owned and operated by award-winning winemaker, Rudy Zuidema.  As a client of FWT, Rudy’s hands-on experience and expertise will be at your service to attain the maximum benefit for your unique situation.

Over his 30 year career, Rudy has worked with wineries, grape growers and vineyard managers throughout Northern California, bringing new life to hundreds of programs. 

Create More Options in Your Cellar

Flash is much more than a repair method for under-performing or compromised fruit. Several of our clients send us premium fruit to be flashed and blended with their conventional fermentations. Like a chef finding elegant spices and better ingredients, Flash Wine Technologies gives winemakers new tools to diversify their wines.

Diversify flavor and color profiles of a single vineyard

Use flashed wines to lift aromatics and add a core fruit mid-palate

Wine glasses cabernet sauvignon flash détente

Minimum
Tonnage

50 Tons

Maximum Daily
Tonnage

0 Tons

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Processed Since 2012

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Winery 
Customers

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Your Top Choice For Flash Détente in Northern California

FWT is the first Flash Détente service company in Northern California to process small and large wine lots, bringing this cutting edge technology to wineries of all sizes. Our state of the art system can process lots as small as 10 tons allowing wineries in the intimate, boutique, luxury wine business to experiment with Flash Détente and see how it can greatly add quality options to their wine programs.

Since opening for business in 2012, we’ve processed over 6,000 tons for over 50 well-respected wineries in the Napa and Sonoma regions, processing multiple grape varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Roussane, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Photo Gallery

“We do a decent volume every year, about 400 tons. Rudy recommended that I experiment with 10-15 tons of a couple different varieties. The result was just as he had explained, and now blending options are everywhere.”

M. GREGORY​
Head Winemaker

“When our growers don't meet the contract specifications for the wine, it's a simple solution. I tell them 'Take it to Rudy.'”

J. REDMAN
Grower Relations

"For years, our reserve Cab Franc came only from the vineyard’s best blocks. I was recommended to use flash détante to elevate the underperforming areas and can now include the entire vineyard into the reserve blend. We’ve utilized flash every harvest since.”

R. RAMIREZ
Luxury Wine Brand

“We ran out of tank space mid-harvest. We sent a few truck loads of Cab to Rudy to flash and press so we could go straight to barrel. We got right back on track to finish the vintage strong.”

J. DOUGLAS
Winemaker

“We are a small, boutique brand and were looking for a way to add complexity to our single vineyard wine. We were surprised at the quality of juice flash added to our program and the color extraction was phenomenal.”

B. Parinet
Winery Owner

Frequently Asked Questions

Flash Détente, or thermovinification, uses high heat and rapid vacuum cooling to extract maximum color, concentrate sugar, and remove undesirable flavors. 

For the past two decades, the Flash Détente method of extraction has had strong presence in Italy, France, South America, and Australia, with over 60 units worldwide today. Flash Détente is rapidly becoming mainstream in the American wine industry.

Delivery

You deliver your grapes to our Kenwood, CA location in macro-bins or 2.5 ton valley bins to begin the process.  

Heating the Must

The destemmed fruit is stored in a holding tank then sent through a heat exchanger at roughly six tons per hour.  The temperature of the must will achieve 200 degrees in the 90 seconds it takes to pass through the heater.  During this heating process, problematic bacteria, yeasts, and proteins such as brettanocyces, acetobacer, and laccase caused by rot or mildew are eliminated or denatured, leaving the juice virtually sterile.

Flashing

The hot material is then delivered to a vacuum tank where it is immediately flashed.  The cell walls are ruptured allowing 100% of the anthocyanins and skin tannins to be released and stabilized. 

Steam Release

The vacuum process will create steam that is removed through condensation, cooling the must down to 85 degrees and pulling out flash water containing off-flavors. In the process, 3-5% of the volume is removed. This loss of water will increase the sugar content in the juice, concentrating the flavors, and creating a thicker, more complex wine.

Flash water removed from your must in the process contains the least desirable flavors such as the methoxypyrazine vegetal flavors, ashy or smoke taint, or moldy rot notes.

Your Flash Juice is Ready

A full truck load of 24 tons takes approximately six hours to process and is ready to load into your waiting tanker.  You may also opt to leave your must with FWT to macerate overnight and be pressed the following morning.  Receive your juice and ferment in tank as juice only, add to other ferments, add to a drained cap, or go straight to barrels. 

Both white and red grapes can be flashed. Examples of the varieties we flash include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Roussane, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Diseased or virused vines that do not achieve the desired sugar, color, or ripeness during the growing season can pick up 2-4 brix through flash.  The color the grapes skins do have will be 100% extracted.

Acetobacter – All bacteria will be eliminated in the heating process.  

Laccase – All proteins will be made insoluble, or denatured, in the hot vacuum. 

Brettanomyces – All yeast spores will become inactive over 65 degrees Celsius.  

Smoke taint – Flash has proven to greatly reduce smoke taint by capturing the guaiacol/4Methylguaiacol in the flash water removed through steam.  The guaiacol levels in the flashed juice do not recur over time.  

Early Rains, mildew, mold – The bacteria, yeasts, and proteins caused by early rain will be denatured or removed from the must eliminating mold and rot flavors and further spoilage. 

Bird Damage – Acetobacter or volatile acidity will be killed in the heating process.

In most cases, once a wine lot is flashed it is pressed immediately leaving you with only the rich juice that is very dark in color.  Without skins and seeds you can ferment more tonnage volume in tank, or like some of our customers you can choose to send the juice straight to barrel.

When cellars are full and tank space is hard to find, flashing your wine is a great option to move through your wine lots.

Flashing will not stabilize color but will release all of the anthocyanins that are held within the grape skins.  We recommend adding a healthy dose of sacrificial tannins either just before or immediately after flashing.  FWT can provide this product to you.

As the vacuum pressure breaks open the cell walls of the grape skins, extraction of 100% of skin tannins and anthocyanins is fully completed in just a few minutes after flashing.  We highly recommend adding a significant dose of sacrificial tannins to capture and stabilize these compounds. 

The Flash process will increase sugar, concentrate flavors and extract the maximum color from your fruit regardless of the condition.  Winery clients have postponed or divided re-plant projects using Flash to get a few more years out of old or sick vineyards.

Wines flashed by Flash Wine Technologies are Certified (OU) Kosher and are Mevushal.  The process must be supervised by a certified observant rabbinical authority.