Winery Automation Allows Okanagan Winemakers To Focus On Their Craft

Published on: February 28, 2018

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When people think of the Okanagan, a few things almost always come to mind: hot summers, mountains and, of course, wine.

When people think of the Okanagan, a few things almost always come to mind: hot summers, mountains and, of course, wine.

The beautiful wineries that decorate the Okanagan have become one of the region’s staple as both locals and tourists enjoy the amazing wines and experiences that these businesses offer.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that winemaking is both an art and a science, and that great wine requires control over the elements in the environment in which it is made and stored.

Wine is greatly affected by the temperature in the tank as it’s being produced, as well as the temperature and humidity levels in the cellars where it is stored. Without the right tools, these elements can be difficult to control.

In addition, the fermentation of wine produces CO2 gas which at high levels can be dangerous if inhaled.

This is why many winemakers choose to install integrated control systems.

These systems, sometimes called direct digital control (DDC) systems or building automation systems (BAS), assist winemakers in monitoring and managing the winemaking process. To offer control over the wine production process, a DDC system is installed in the building. DDC systems are used to control a building’s various functions from one central point, or remotely using a smartphone or laptop.

What are wine production controls?

For wineries, a DDC system can be used to control your building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This allows operators to program the HVAC system with pre-set functions such as time schedules. These systems also collect real-time data, such as the current temperature or humidity in a room, which allows for an immediate response if adjustments are needed. For more information about DDC systems, click here.

Another component of wine production controls are tank temperature controls, which allow winemakers to maintain a consistent temperature in the tanks where the wine is being fermented.

To ensure that CO2 gas produced does not harm anyone, sensors are placed in key areas to monitor the gas levels and if they exceed certain set points, the system alerts workers and can automatically trigger exhaust fans allowing fresh air to replace the unsafe air in workplace.

What are the benefits of wine production controls?

Monitoring and control over your winery’s HVAC system can help maintain consistent humidity levels, reduce evaporation, prevent mold and reduce damage to wine and the barrels where it’s being stored. Protection for wines as they are being stored safeguards your investment.

Automation controls for wine tank temperature offers reliable temperature monitoring and allows the winemaker to manage the process to ensure consistent quality, reduce spoilage and save energy. This offers winemakers peace of mind without having to worry about elements that are difficult to control without a proper system in place.

How else could a DDC system benefit your winery?

The benefits of a DDC system go beyond wine production.

Remember how we were saying that these systems collect data? Not only does this allow the system to be responsive and for winemakers to make adjustments to the environment as needed, but the data collected can be studied to make other improvements, such as the building’s efficiency and energy usage.

When a building operator has the ability to monitor and control energy consumption throughout the entire building, this can lead to energy savings and, therefore, cost savings.

Several other building systems can also be integrated to simplify processes, improve safety and save money in the long run - lighting and access controls, alarms and gas detection systems to name a few.

Another benefit of installing a building automation system is the support that comes with it. At Kimco, a DDC system allows us to monitor your building from our office, and relay any important messages to our technicians who are then able to make adjustments and fix small issues before they become more serious. We offer service contracts to help keep your systems maintained, and are also available to help our customers with emergencies 24/7.

If you’d like to learn more about how a controls system could benefit your winery, contact us. We have experience working with several wineries in the Okanagan region, and we would be happy to help you, too!

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