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AUSTRALIA: A specially-designed barrel hall cooling system is providing the ideal environment in the demanding conditions found in New World wineries.

South Australian air conditioning manufacturer Seeley International is enjoying global success with its Climate Wizard Supercool systems, which have been specifically designed for the wine industry.

So far the Adelaide-based company has installed about a dozen systems in wineries across Australia, the United States and South Africa.

Key features of the systems are their indirect and direct evaporative sections that allow desired storage temperatures of 16ºC-18ºC to be achieved while increasing relative humidity to 60-80% RH.

According to Seeley general manager of commercial sales Michael Hamilton the Climate Wizard was also up to 80% cheaper to run than equivalent refrigerated cooling systems.

The systems are aimed at New World wineries that store their barrels in sheds and warehouses rather than underground cellars.

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“We’re finding that when we go and talk to some of these wineries and survey their sites, the barrels at the top of the wine hall can reach up to 32ºC during our summer period.

“When we looked at where we wanted to take this winery campaign in our global market we’ve considered this product in the American and South African markets but not so much in Europe because a lot of barrel halls are underground there and they maintain pretty consistent temperatures without a lot of assistance,” Hamilton said.

“We’re creating interest with this technology because we are able to create the conditions the winemakers are looking for at a very low operating cost.”

The system is said to reduce the amount of alcohol that evaporates out of a wine barrel when temperatures exceed 18ºC and when humidity is low. This potentially affects quality and forces barrels to be “topped up” during maturation.