Winemakers are artists who have harnessed the science of fermentation to turn humble grape juice into the nectar of the gods. Vinification, the art of winemaking, has been around for millennia. Vintners soon realized that temperature dramatically affects the quality of the finished wine. They built elaborate wine cellars or used natural caves to create a uniform chilled environment to control the fermentation temperature.
Temperature control is critical to the winemaking process from when the must (juice) exits the press through fermentation, aging, and bottling. A wine that ferments at too high a temperature can taste cooked, and the yeast may die prematurely.
This article will cover wine fermentation and explore flexible cooling jackets for accurate temperature control and cooling jacket for fermenters.
What Is the Correct Temperature to Ferment Wine?
There are four areas of winemaking where refrigeration is critical to the process:
- Must Cooling – Limits phenolic oxidation and premature fermentation
- Juice Clarification – Aids the settling of suspended solids
- Fermentation – Controls the fermentation rate
- Cold Stabilization – Removes tartrate crystals to prevent precipitation after bottling
Wine temperature in fermentation is critical for producing quality wine. The temperature inside the fermentation tank influences the activity of enzymes, which are already present in the grape. Enzymes affect the wine’s aroma, influence the breakdown of the sugar in the grape mash, and the metabolic processes of the living microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeast, and fungi. By controlling the temperature, the vintner controls the biological processes and the wine’s flavor.
Red wines need higher fermentation temperatures of around 70°F (21°C) and up to as high as 85°F (29.4°C). The higher temperatures extract more color and tannins.
White wines require a cooler fermentation temperature to preserve the fruity flavor and the white color. Reliable temperature control from 45°F (7.2°C) to 60°F (15.5°C) produces consistently quality wine.
There are two types of fermentation for wine, alcoholic and malolactic. Alcoholic fermentation uses yeast and bacteria to convert sugar into alcohol. Malolactic fermentation reduces the wine’s acidity by converting the malic acid of the fruit into lactic acid. Vintners use this process for red wines aged in oak barrels.
Cold stabilization is a process after fermentation and just before bottling. Chilling helps precipitate suspended particles in the wine so that they will filter out. Because wine contains alcohol, the freezing point is lower than water. For example, the freezing point of wine with a 10% ethanol by volume solution is approximately 25°F. At 12%, it is 23°F and at 14% is 21°F.
Avoiding Temperature Fluctuations
Maintaining a stable temperature of the wine during the various phases of its fermentation and processing is critical to ensuring that the final wine quality is acceptable. Cooling systems such as flexible cooling jackets are an integral component of wine production.
Without cooling systems, temperature fluctuation can destroy the entire harvest. Wine tank cooling jackets improve the wine by allowing it to ferment at the correct temperature.
How Do Wineries Control Wine Fermentation Temperature?
Large-scale wineries will use stainless steel fermentation tanks with built-in cooling jackets. An external tank cooling jacket provides uniform temperature by circulating a cooling liquid around the tank’s surface like a radiator. External cooling eliminates the possibility of contamination from the cooling fluid.
Winery glycol chillers connect to the jacket, exchanging heat using a mixture of glycol and water similar to your car’s radiator. These glycol jackets regulate the internal temperature of the tank during fermentation or the stabilization process.
Jacketed tanks are costly. The best option for small-batch, artisanal, or home wineries is to apply a Fluxwrap wine tank cooling jacket. It can attach to a glycol chiller, converting it into a removable glycol jacket.
What Is a Fluxwrap Fermenter Cooling Jacket?
Unlike a stainless steel system welded to a wine fermentation tank, Fluxwrap is flexible and portable. It can heat or cool vessels as small as 5-gallons up to 275-gallon, full-sized totes. Fluxwrap maintains the internal temperature of wine fermentation tanks using a proprietary multi-channel fluid path like an industrial-sized chiller. The cooling fluid has maximum flow and heat exchange with minimal pressure.
Flux wrap solves critical heating and cooling issues for winemakers in a quick, four-step procedure.
Step 1 – The flexible tank cooling jacket wraps around the fermentation tank and secures at the elastic neoprene ends.
Step 2 – Attach the two hoses to the portable chiller.
Step 3 – Install the insulation wrap over the Fluxwrap. The insulation increases temperature control and reduces condensation.
Step 4 – Turn on the chiller and set it to the desired temperature.
Flux wrap conforms to any surface maintaining contact with the tank for superior thermal conductivity. It installs and removes in minutes for different tanks.
Solve Winery Fermentation Chilling Issues
One major issue all winemakers face is when fermentation becomes sluggish or stops altogether. This can happen when there is a thermal shock or significant temperature fluctuation. Unlike internal tank cooling systems, an external wine tank cooling jacket provides uniform cooling without exposing the wine inside the tank to contamination by microorganisms and possible oxidation.
Let us help you determine the correct fermentation cooling jacket solution for your operation. Call our experts at (866) 826-2993 or email us at [email protected].