There are two main classifications of pumps that are used in wineries: Must Pumps have oversized pump heads and work with larger tubing so that they are capable of moving must from one place to another (crusher to fermenter, fermenter to press); Fluid Transfer Pumps are used only for moving liquids from one place to another and are not capable of pumping must. Typically must pumps are going to be more expensive because they require more powerful motors and typically come with some kind of electronic speed control. Regardless of whether the pump can handle must or not, which is more of a question of size, there are several different types of designs for pumps. Each different design is going to have its advantages and disadvantages. The three main concerns for winemakers are 1) whether or not the pump is self-priming, 2) how aerative the handling is, and 3) how much physical agitation of the wine takes place. We carry 4 basic different types of pumps.
Diaphragm Pumps are both self priming and very gentle and make great fluid-transfer pumps. The disadvantage of diaphragm pumps is that the ones we carry only go up to about 3 gal/min flow rate, which just won't work in a commercial winery.
Centrifugal Pumps are a good balance of flow rate vs. cost. However, they are physically rough on the wine, can be aerative and are not self-priming.
Rubber Impeller pumps strike a pretty good balance of features for small wineries. They are self-priming, non-aerative and offer good flow rates. The only drawback is that they can be a little physically rough on the wine if you run them full speed.
Monoscrew Pumps are fantastic pumps for winemakers. They are gentle, non-aerative and self-priming. However, they are a very expensive pump design. All of the must pumps that we carry are rubber impeller pumps. These strike the best balance between cost, handling and the ability to move must.
The only real issue here is choosing a pump that will move the amount of wine that the customer needs to move within a reasonable amount of time. Past that the customer is going to be considering pricing vs. options. I'm happy to say that the impeller pumps we carry are fully featured and priced better than any of our competitors and tend to perform very well for us. We are, in general, competitive on the rest of our pump line.
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