California wines will soon be showing the benefits of Kiwi-based technology.
Wine Technology Marlborough (WTM), the New Zealand temperature control equipment maker, has now established a foothold in the US and has contracts in place with three California winemakers, to add to its already booming business expansion worldwide.
The company, established in 1996, already has a presence in South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Spain in addition to its headquarters in Marlborough.
Its US base trades under the name Wine Technology America, operating out of Santa Rosa, in northern California. Two longtime American wine industry veterans have joined the company to bring its trademarked 'VinWizard' system to the American market.
Accurate temperature control during the fermentation process is key to the production of top quality wines.
The 'VinWizard' technology was developed around tank temperature control and evolved into a Web-enabled system that allows vintners to remotely specify and enforce precise conditions for fermentation and maintain detailed records of inputs and outputs.
Earlier systems alerted vintners when temperature and fermentation levels required adjustment. The NZ-developed wizard makes the adjustments itself.
WTM Principal owner David Gill said another real upside of the technology is its 'green' nature.
"Refrigeration is costly and energy-intensive. By reducing energy costs around 30 to 50 per cent, we can help the winemaker reduce his carbon footprint.
"It certainly helps the winemaker towards his goal of carbon neutrality."
Gill said the degree of environmental friendliness of the product will soon be a key factor in consumers' wine purchasing decisions.