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News | Cold rooms for wine research at UK’s first wine scientific center | ColdKit

Plumpton College is an institution of specialized education with a wide range of courses, some in partnership with the University of Brighton. The educational offer if this institution relates to agricultural production, including a Master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology. Within this course, Plumpton College is proud to have started the first wine research center of the UK. Named “The Rathfinny Research Winery”, the center conducts innovative scientific research in the fields of viticulture and enology.

The first scientific research of the UK Wine Research Centre is on the mechanisms of vine propagation and wine fermentation, in order to find ways to combat climate conditions that often affect wine production in England, such as hail and wind. To be able to control the factors that determine how plants grow and wines ferment, the UK Wine Research Centre has installed an innovative system which consists of five Controlled Environment Cabinets. These five facilities consist on Matrix coldrooms by ColdKit and represent the heart of Research Winery Rathfinny.

In spring and summer, the Controlled Environment Cabinets will be used to control key variables (such as light intensity, day length and the diurnal temperature variation) during the propagation of vine cuttings and planting of vines in vase. In autumn and winter, the modular cold rooms will allow the successful manipulation of all variables of the wine production process, such as the cold storage of grapes, the conduct of alcoholic fermentation and cold stabilization of wines.

The design, construction and installation of refrigerating chambers was conducted by A&S Cooling, using the Matrix modular systems by ColdKit. Five Controlled Environment Cabinets have a panel insulation thickness of 85 mm on the walls and panels; cooling and heating are generated by individual refrigeration units independently controlled. Matrix design allows to maintain a clean and hygienic environment, perfect for scientific research since it simulates actual weather conditions.

These facilities will be widely used by students enrolled in the Master of Viticulture and Oenology from Plumpton College, which will get data relevant to the industry of Welsh and English wines. The current research projects are on the development of products to protect the vines from frost, research on the growth of the vines through additional LED light as well as the influence of temperature and pH during the winemaking process, among other topics.