Maturing wines in amphorae produced with a 3-D printer

Thursday May 27 2021 by Vitisphere

 To optimise the space required in wineries, Quentin Joly explains that the company can also design square tanks. To optimise the space required in wineries, Quentin Joly explains that the company can also design square tanks. - Photo credit : DR

Located near Limoges, Biopythos was the only company able to market porcelain amphorae. “Thanks to 3D printing, we are now also able to deliver ceramic amphorae in all sizes and almost all shapes very quickly”, says Quentin Joly. As the company's sales manager, he is also a co-shareholder in 3D Minerals, which was set up in the same premises in 2019 to design and sell patented 3D printing machines for ceramic objects.

A few weeks ago, Joly met winegrower Eric Billières, in the Bordeaux region. “He asked us to make two 1.80 m and 350-litre amphorae for him. But we only had plaster moulds for 120 or 500 litres”.

Ordering a new mould would have taken months. “With 3D printing, we were able to send it to him in a few days. We only have to modify a computer file to design vessels of different capacities and shapes. The paste that comes out of the machine is then dried and cooked, as with the traditional process, which allows us to supply different grades of permeability to winegrowers”, explains Joly.

By Wednesday morning on 19 May, an amphora with a pointed bottom was being printed in the 3D Minerals workshop for a winegrower from the Rhône-Alpes region, who intends to bury it in sand and instil “new energy” in the wine. “He already had amphorae but was sourcing them from Georgia, which was much more challenging from a logistics point of view”.

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