I am interested to learn more about your system. How can I get more information?
Why did you decide to build this? Why now?
Installation & Operation
What is the installation process for the BarrelWise system? Do I need to alter the barrels?
The BarrelWise system is designed to fit seamlessly into the wineries’ existing cellar processes. The bungs are installed the same as any normal silicone bung. They can be pulled out by hand at any time, if needed. The cart uses inert gas, either from a central system or gas cylinder, to move wine and control oxygen exposure. Rechargeable batteries power onboard electronics.
Is BarrelWise equipment food safe?
Yes. All parts that come into contact with wine are made with food safe, FDA-listed materials such as food grade HDPE, silicone and 316 stainless steel. These materials have been confirmed as safe for the wine using chemical and sensory analysis of wine during trials of the BarrelWise system in winery cellars.
How sanitary is BarrelWise equipment? Is it easy to clean?
How much time will the BarrelWise system save me?
How does the BarrelWise system add sulfites?
The cart measures out a precise volume of the aqueous potassium/sodium metabisulfite solution, based on the desired PPM addition, and correcting for barrel size. The sulfites are added concurrently with the topping wine.
What SO2 solution concentration does the system use?
By default, the system is set up to work with pre-mixed 6% solution. System settings can be adjusted to facilitate other solution concentration levels as well.
How well does the SO2 solution mix? Will I need to stir the barrel after making the addition?
The BarrelWise system is designed to execute routine barrel work, including SO2 additions, without opening the barrels. Sulfites are delivered below the level of the wine in the barrel, and followed through by the topping wine until the barrel is filled. This achieves significant turbulence inside the barrel, which generates a strong mixing effect. In-house testing suggests a comparable mixing effect after 24 hours as when manually stirring the barrels with a stirring rod or a baton.
Can I easily remove the bung to access the wine for inspection, or analysis?
Yes. Bungs are placed and removed by hand, just like regular silicone bungs.
Can I hammer the bungs in with a mallet?
How well do the bungs seal?
Bungs seals as well as, or better than, traditional solid silicone bungs. In-winery testing showed no adverse impact on acetic acid/volatile acidity or sulfites due to inadequate bung sealing. Additionally, each individual bung is pressure tested for a positive and negative pressure seal before leaving the production facility.
Do you offer venting bungs, which can release gas from the barrel without breaking the seal?
Not currently. There is a clear tradeoff in bung design between a perfect seal and venting functionality.
What are the dimensions of the cart? Will it fit between barrel rows in my cellar?
How long is the hose on the cart? Will it reach the back of my barrel rows?
Standard length is 10 meters / 33ft, however this can be customized to the winery’s specifications.
Can my staff climb the barrels while carrying the head-unit of the cart to reach the top racks?
BarrelWise experience in winery cellars indicates that climbing the barrels is inherently unsafe for the operator, regardless of the topping method. This risk can be mitigated with the use of a platform rolling ladder or scissor lift. In all cases, the head unit is designed to be operated with one hand, and includes anchors to hook the hose to the barrel racks or ladder when not in use, or to lighten the load of a long hose.
Can I take a sample for lab analysis or sensory tasting?
Yes. The BarrelWise cart allows for a sample to be drawn from the barrel using the on-board inert gas, to be used for external analysis. The cart is set up for a free-flowing sample method by default, however set volume sampling can also be implemented.
It is critical to keep the bungs, and the area around them clean of dust and wine residue. How does your system address this?
The Cart’s standard operating mode includes a sanitation cycle which washes out all common wetted surfaces in the tubing and head unit, as well as the top of the bung, with a small amount of ethanol. This prevents transfer of wine from barrel to barrel, and helps to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Chemical Analysis & Other Data
What data collection functionality does the BarrelWise system currently offer?
What is Operational Data collection, and what benefits does it offer?
BarrelWise system is building capabilities to recognize and track every barrel in the cellar, recording all barrel work actions. Work orders for topping, sampling and SO2 additions will be delivered electronically, with the system guiding the operator in which barrels to work, ensuring efficiency and precision. BarrelWise will track the volume of wine and the amount of SO2 added to each barrel for the winery’s internal reporting, planning and quality assurance. It will also measure the time taken to execute the tasks, informing cellar crews’ training and management. Collected data will be presented in a base BarrelWise database, or to popular winery management software systems, through API integration.
How does the free SO2 Data collection work?
How long does it take to generate a free SO2 reading? How accurate is it?
Current prototype of the sensor delivers a reading in less than 1 minute, to the same accuracy as commercially available branded off-the-shelf sensors. BarrelWise is targeting analysis time of under 30 seconds before rolling it out to wineries.
Are you planning to add further chemical analysis functionality?
Yes. BarrelWise is planning to add pH and Dissolved Oxygen to the sensor pack shortly after delivering the free SO2 functionality.