Enhanced Winemaking and Understanding Wine Profile Transition with Fermentation Automation

Our customer needed practical sanitary design and installation services to support their vision for the mid to large scale winemaking process. The customer planned to embed the learnings through their leading educational entity and mimic closely to the industry settings. Having a good pilot scale representation would mean that the valuable learnings can be transferrable to a larger scale production that would impact future wine production.

Winemaking Process Enhancements

While collaborating with the University research team in viticulture and enology, the customer identified the importance of monitoring the Brix as the sugar content is converted to alcohol throughout the fermentation process. We proposed installation of the wine fermentation utilizing automatic sensors to monitor temperature, tank jacket hot and cold utility operation, and pressure transmitters to allow monitoring of density change associated with the Brix value. In addition, the pump over assembly along with sanitary strainer configuration is installed to allow aeration and circulation of the wine.

Placer Process was able to work together with the customer’s team to design, plan, and build the fermentation tank systems along with the piping, pumps, sensors, and automation package to allow automatic monitoring of the various phases in winemaking from the start of loading the fruit, filling the tank, cold soak, fermentation, to final storage. Our solution proposed sanitary design of the tanks and associated components allowing the customer to utilize a CIP system keeping the components cleaned while minimizing the risk of operator exposure to chemicals, and while promoting chemical reuse and water conservation. In addition, the automation implemented within the wine tanks is able to provide winemakers with valuable information on the profile of the juice, the transition as the alcohol content increases, and additional key data points.  This automation data helps to determine optimum timing on next steps which enhances the capability of developing a consistently unique wine flavor for the brand.

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