We are excited to bring you another installment of our look into more obscure HVAC uses. This time we are looking at the crucial role that temperature plays in the production of wine. While the early days of wine production took place underground where temperatures were cooler, today’s vintners (winemakers) must rely on the modern convenience of specially designed air conditioners to produce quality wine.
We begin with the creation of must. This is the result of mashing grapes and includes the grape, skin, seeds, and stem. The resulting flavor is directly related to the length of time the must stays in this stage and the temperature at which it is kept. Keeping the must just above freezing prevents premature fermenting and will pull more flavor compounds from the skin.
After processing the must, the resulting juice must be clarified by cooling. The temperature will depend on the type of wine but ideally should be between 50-58 deg. The acidic compounds that cause cloudiness, break down at lower temperatures.
Next, the juice must go through the fermentation process. Yeast is added to the juice, which breaks down the sugar resulting in fermentation and the addition of alcohol. This process naturally creates heat (exothermic reaction) which needs to be controlled or fermentation can stop. Once again, a cooling system must be employed to keep the wine at the ideal temperature for optimal flavor.
After fermentation is complete, the wine must be stabilized. This process also requires a stable low temperature. Potassium bitartrate is a byproduct of fermentation and can crystalize forming the bits of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. When the temperature of the wine is rapidly cooled, the tartaric acid will precipitate out and no crystals will form.
The final step is to bottle the wine and store it in an underground stone cave with the ideal temperature. For the majority of the population that don’t have access to their own wine cellar, there are wine coolers that can be easily installed in place of a kitchen cabinet or elsewhere in the house. Keeping your wine chilled at this stage preserves the quality so you can save it for that special occasion, or a Wednesday evening.
Here at Quigley, we might not be wine production specialists, but we are the experts on keeping your home and business comfortable. And with one of our maintenance plans, you can stay cool and comfortable year-round. With 2 free visits a year, multipoint inspections, and preventive maintenance, we can keep your HVAC system running at optimal efficiency. Call today to schedule your service.