MOG Blog

Rack & Riddle Invests in the Riddling

Rack & Riddle, the Sonoma County winery that specializes in méthode Champenoise sparkling wine production recently installed a brand new riddling system that will let the winemaking team run custom riddling programs.

Rack & Riddle’s team of mechanics, Beto Duran, Javier Acevedo, and Jose Ramirez (seen in the photo), led by facilities managers Stan Jennings and John Clark, installed the riddlers built by Oeno Concept and shipped from the Champagne region of France. It's another significant investment for the winery, which has been expanding steadily since opening. Our managing editor Kate Lavin wrote a detailed profile of the winery in our September 2015 edition

According to a press release from the winery, the project expanded Rack & Riddle's riddling capacity by 30% and wrapped up in less than two weeks’ time, two days ahead of schedule and under budget.

Frederic Questiaux, with Oeno Concepts, engineered the system to incorporate the winery’s existing riddle racks, some of which are more than 30 years old. The new system enables winemakers to create riddling programs at their desks, and to build custom riddling schedules for the winery’s clients.

“That’s a great thing—before you had to stand at the riddler itself and modify it, and before I was buying parts off eBay to maintain our old set up. For the VLMs (large riddlers housing 384 cases each), we used to have to bring in programmers to modify it,” Jennings said. “Now our winemakers can create a riddling program at their desks, and just take a USB stick to the control panel. In six months to a year, they expect to have the ability to remotely monitor, so winemakers can view the riddlers from their offices and know how much time is left on each one,”

The winery of mechanics and experts had to often translate Spanish to English to French and back again, but still managed to get everything set up in time.

The six new quadras (each containing four cages) have brought Rack & Riddle’s riddling capacity to a total of 4,032 cases.

“The updated control panel gives us the ability to have multiple riddling cycles, and do smaller, more customized trials for our clients,” said general manager Mark Garaventa. “We can know the outcome of a trial by utilizing a pair of cages for testing, versus having to devote numerous riddlers to testing. This makes us much more efficient in determining the proper riddling cycle for specific products.”

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