Cool solution cuts the angel’s share in barrel halls

A barrel hall cooling system designed to efficiently maintain ideal temperatures and raise humidity is robbing the wine gods of the ‘angel’s share’.

South Australian air conditioning manufacturer Seeley International is enjoying global success with its Climate Wizard Supercool systems, which have been specifically designed for the wine industry.

So far the Adelaide-based company has installed about a dozen systems in wineries across Australia, the United States and South Africa.

General Manager of Commercial Sales, Michael Hamilton, said the key features of the systems were their indirect and direct evaporative sections that allowed desired storage temperatures of 16°C – 18°C to be achieved while increasing air moisture to 60 – 80 per cent relative humidity.

He said the Climate Wizard was also up to 80 per cent cheaper to run than equivalent refrigerated cooling systems. The systems are aimed at New World wineries that store their barrels in sheds and warehouses rather than underground cellars.

“When we looked at where we wanted to take this winery campaign in our global market we’ve considered this product in the American and South African markets but not so much in Europe because a lot of barrel halls are underground there and they maintain pretty consistent temperatures without a lot of assistance,” said Hamilton.

“We’re finding that when we go and talk to some of these wineries and survey their sites, the barrels at the top of the wine hall can reach up to 32°C during our summer period.

“We’re creating interest with this technology because we are able to create the conditions the winemakers are looking for at a very low operating cost.”

The ‘angel’s share’ is a winemaking term that refers to the amount of wine that evaporates out of a barrel, potentially affecting quality and forcing barrels to be “topped up” during maturation.

The angel’s share is generally higher when barrel room temperatures exceed 18°C and when humidity is low. Hamilton said Seeley was looking to ramp up production of the Supercool units at its South Australian factory on the back of a flood of inquiries received at last month’s Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference in Adelaide.

“Ultimately, if they reduce that angel’s share effect, which means they don’t have to top up as much, they would be aiming to deliver a higher quality of wine and more volume,” said Hamilton.

Australia’s largest air conditioning manufacturer, Seeley is a global leader in the design and manufacture of portable and ducted climate control systems for the domestic, commercial and industrial markets.

This article was printed with permission from The Lead.