Improving winery energy efficiency
Energy costs are a major operating expense in Australian wineries. This project aims to improve winery energy efficiency by improving the efficiency of winery refrigeration and other energy intensive winery processes. A recently completed project ‘Improving Winery Refrigeration Efficiency’ identified key areas of future focus in improving winery energy efficiency. The areas of focus are: clarification of juice using flotation methods; alternative cold stability processes and testing methods; and improved winery heat transfer applications and methods. This project will also assist wineries to access grants and funding mechanisms leading towards more efficient production. The project will work in partnership with other research groups and particularly with individual wineries of varying sizes as demonstration case studies. One target output will be tools for wineries to undertake self-audits.
A specific focus of this project will be technologies for improved efficiency of cold stabilisation of wines that maximise existing capital assets and require minimal investment in additional capital equipment. The majority of white and many red wines are treated during production to reduce the risk of tartrate precipitation in the finished product. The process of cold stabilisation uses significant amounts of energy and because of the uncertainty in testing methodologies many wines are either over stabilised, representing wasted production costs, or still precipitate tartrates when in the marketplace, resulting in product returns and potential brand damage. This project will assess available cold stabilisation technologies, including newer alternatives such as CMC products, and create guidelines for their use and the most appropriate testing regimes to ensure the product meets market specifications without wasted processing costs. The project will elucidate the influence of different wine styles and components on wines’ ability to resist tartrate precipitation and how this impacts on choice of stabilisation technology; the overall efficacy of different stabilisation technologies; and the best testing methodology to ensure performance. The overall aim will be to provide producers with tools to tailor procedures and technologies to wine type and market.