By Kent Penning
Campbell, CA - Roger, a retired winery professional came to Cold Craft Inc. looking for some help. Roger may have retired from the business but wine is clearly still a big part of his life. Roger is continuing his passion for wine while making boutique wines.
Part of the fun of making your own wine is the process of finding the equipment and building a custom set up. In his search he found a great deal on a little Haskris brand chiller that needed some modifications to work with his Minox stainless steel tank. (Both pictured below).
The Minox stainless (above,right) is a steel tank - this particular unit has been wrapped in what we call bubble wrap insulation.
Basically, the chiller had to be modified to work with propylene glycol. This is what is needed to run at the temperatures Roger needed to stop fermentation of his wine. Once fermentation is stopped, Roger performs his magic to get the wine tasting just the way he wants, the wine is then filtered and bottled.
Roger was making a Cabernet Rose when this picture was taken. Next up is a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and finally a Zinfandel. This tank features a floating lid with an inflatable seal on the edge. This lid has been custom modified with a bung and thermo well in the lid. This is a picture looking down inside the tank to top of the lid.
These are Burgundian style oak barrels for aging the wine. The capacity is 60 gallons. Roger has the oak barrels stacked in a frame.
Note, on this side view and some components are iced up as the water glycol mixture is at 18 degrees F. Another picture of iced up fittings carrying the mixture to the tank cooling jacket. The little chiller did its job, the wine reached 32 degrees and Roger got cheers from his friends and neighbors that have been watching and helping with the wine process.
More Technical Information:
An Italian company that makes absolutely gorgeous stainless steel tanks. This tank is 500 liters (roughly 132 gallons). This tank has a full cooling jacket that is hidden under the insulation. For whatever economic reason, the domestic manufacturers cannot compete on price and quality with the Italians on these smaller tanks.
An established U S company that makes chillers. A chiller is a refrigeration system that cools water to a desired temperature. The cool or cold water is then used for some desired purpose, in this case – cooling wine. This chiller was a model # R100. This chiller was re-purposed from its original mission in life. The Haskris technical people were very professional, helpful and forth coming on what changes needed to be made. The changes were:
- Additional thermostat to directly measure the wine temperature in the tank, a Honeywell T775 was used
- Alter the freeze stat
- Adjust the pressure control
- Some minor wiring changes
- No more than a 30% mixture of water and propylene glycol.
- Chiller was elevated to match the height of the top the cooling jacket.
This makes life much simper with an open loop chiller.
- Chiller had a built in flow meter and was flowing 2 gpm 18 degree water to reach a 32 degree wine temperature.
- The unmodified rating of this chiller is shy of 11,000 btu
The quality, design and features of this little chiller was impressive. It is a well thought out package. Roger will generally be processing 60 gallons of wine at a time. Ideally I would suggest a larger chiller when processing larger quantities. Roger expects to use this chiller for 1 week a year. Of course it always best and smartest to have the right equipment for the desired application.
Cold Craft Inc. has designed, constructed, assembled, sold, installed, repaired many chillers for wine, beer, plastic molding and other process applications. CCI also provides a proprietary refrigeration method for wine cellars.
If you need help with temperature, contact Cold Craft, Inc.
408.374.7292 or INFO@COLDCRAFT.COM