Optimal wine fermentation with Enolyse platform
Optimal wine fermentation monitoring is provided by an innovative platform Enolyse, which continuously monitors sugar content and temperature, as well as informs winemakers about all key moments of the process.
The moon, the grapevine…and a complicated biological process
Besides the grapevine, grapes, the weather, the moon and carefully protected recipes, passed on from one generation of winemakers to the next like much beloved family silverware, there’s another key condition for a good wine year, namely an optimal wine fermentation process. This is a complicated chemical and biological process, wherein the winemaker has to pay attention to many parameters, more noticeably including sugar content and temperature at which fermentation is taking place.
When time runs out for monitoring fermentation
Even though the time of grape harvest is a highly anticipated period for winemakers, it is also quite stressful. Due to an abundance of work and a lack of time, it often happens that they don’t give enough attention to fermentation monitoring. If they stop fermentation too late, they have to add sugar to the wine, but it is also crucial that they catch the right moment for decanting the must into tanks or barrels, where the wine will mature until the bottling. Usually winemakers have to use various measuring devices for monitoring fermentation, such as refractometers and densitometers, and write the information down on paper, which doesn’t give them the option of efficiently saving and analysing data of previous fermentations.
A unique solution for winemakers’ problems
Winemakers face many of the above-described problems and for them, the optimization of fermentation is one of the most important factors for ensuring excellent quality and market recognisability of wines. The young start-up company Enolyse found an effective and globally unique solution for them – one that has so far received many awards and also convinced the respected accelerator and venture capital fund LAUNCHub. The developed automated monitoring platform Enolyse saves winemakers time and money, and reduces stress during harvest, while at the same time gives them a better understanding of wine production and allows them to achieve repeatability of their unique wine years despite different harvests and weather conditions.
Three components of the smart system
The Enolyse platform consists of three components – EnoMeter, EnoStation and EnoAPP. The smart sensor EnoMeter can simply be mounted on the tank through standard valves, and continuously measures sugar and temperature during wine fermentation. It uses a battery as a power supply and sends the measured parameters wirelessly to the central unit EnoStation. The latter collects data from EnoMeters and sends it to the servers, more specifically to a computer cloud that the winemakers can access remotely with a mobile or web application EnoAPP from anywhere and at any time.
Timely information is crucial
The central unit EnoStation also checks if the EnoMeters are functioning correctly and informs the winemakers of their state. Moreover, it has in-built temperature and humidity sensors, which helps it monitor not only the fermentation process but also the conditions in the wine cellar. The essential use value of the EnoAPP is definitely the timely informing of winemakers about the key (or critical) points in the wine fermentation process. At the same time, it allows them to set the EnoMeter and EnoStation devices, export reports and draw graphs of the fermentation and analyses of previous years.
Key customers are winemaker families
The Enolyse platform is meant for small, medium and large winemakers, who annually produce from about 20,000 to 200,000 litres of wine. Thus family winemakers are amongst the key customers, as wine production is their main source of income. It’s a customer segment that represents as much as 60 percent of all producers in the global wine industry – the latter amounts to more than 3 million winemakers who together make 25 billion litres of wine.
First beta version testers
Geographically, company Enolyse will first focus on the domestic market, where they are currently installing the beta versions of the system for the first test customers, who are mostly known Slovenian family winemakers. In the next steps, the company is planning to expand to Austria and Germany, which will be followed by all of the more important wine countries – Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, USA, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.
“Plug-n-play” and other advantages
On the global market of laboratory instruments and measuring devices – valuated at 44 million USD in the year 2011 – the industry of measuring devices for wine production consists of about 50 large companies that altogether have about 75 % of the market share. Compared to the system Enolyse, which is introducing a completely new approach to laboratory measurement and, following the “plug-n-play” principle, offers a quicker and simpler installation to winemakers, the market leaders’ equipment is more expensive and more difficult to use. The global breakthrough of the innovation Enolyse will also be eased by the demands for automatization of equipment meant to increase productivity in the wine industry, and the phenomenon “internet of things” which offers lower prices and simpler use of complicated measurement techniques.
Price policy and personal sales
The price of the system Enolyse is about 3500 € for the typical family winemaker, and includes the EnoStation device as well as five smart sensors, EnoMeters. The web and mobile application EnoAPP with basic functions is free, while a monthly subscription fee is expected for functional upgrades, the cost of which will depend on the number of the installed EnoMeters. Company Enolyse is marketing its solution mostly by making personal contact with winemakers and through their website, but they are also in the talks with the manufacturers and sellers of equipment and with system integrators for the wine industry.
The power of social networks
Social networks also showed their power in communication with potential customers, mostly Facebook and Twitter, where American winemakers started to follow Enolyse after only a few posts. The platform Enolyse also has promising possibilities for expanding into the brewing, food and maybe even chemical industry. A smart upgrade is also awaiting the sensor EnoMeter itself in the next year and will most likely start measuring one of the following parameters: content of sulphur, acids, free nitrogen or hydrogen sulphide, namely the compound that’s created during yeast decay.
Partners with domain knowledge
When developing the Enolyse platform, the company, founded by three experts of electrical engineering, is collaborating with key national establishments (experts) that possess domain knowledge. The team is namely helped by Dr Klemen Lisjak, from the Argicultural Institute of Slovenia, and Prof Dr Tatjana Košmerl, from the Biotechnical faculty, who provide invaluable expert advice. Support of mentors and programme of the start-up school Hekovnik had been crucial for obtaining an investment and for product development support.