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Do the Grapes have a Fever?

When I told Mom that the winemaker checks the temperature of the wine three times a day, she asked me, “Why does he do that? Do the grapes have a fever??” lol

At the time I didn’t know. I figured it must have something to do with the fermentation process, since fermentation creates heat. I was right, and the question led to learning about more of the really cool equipment here in the winery.

Big Ed says that higher temperatures will “bake” the flavor out right of the wine. Along with this comes a loss of the beautiful aroma compounds, and some unsavory characters like “cooked” and “burnt” can take their place. The yeast won’t function properly either (more on this another time).

Glycol Chiller SystemSo the winery uses a glycol chiller system to keep the fermenting juice at a proper temperature. See those dimples in the tank? That’s a cooling jacket. Glycol is flowing between two pieces of stainless steel that are joined at each dimple. Glycol acts as a coolant, not unlike the liquid you put in your car’s radiator. A stainless steel wand inside the tank reads the temperature of the wine, and the gauge in the front monitors any fluctuations and adjusts the flow of glycol accordingly, 24 hours a day. The winemaker checks the readout three times a day to ensure the system is automating properly.

This is how we protect the wonderful flavor and aroma characteristics of the choice fruit we’ve acquired. And that leads to total deliciosity.

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