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Automatic pilot plant facility designed for the controlled ageing of Madeira wines

Marques, J. C. ; Pereira, V. ; Chen, M.-C. ; Novo, C. ; Bilro, L. ; Alberto, N. ; Antunes, P. ; Pinto, J. L.

Automatic pilot plant facility designed for the controlled ageing of Madeira wines, Proc Portuguese Conf. on Automatic Control - CONTROLO, Funchal, Portugal, Vol. -, pp. 1 - 7, July, 2012.

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Abstract
Known by their exceptional longevity, Madeira wines are aged under controlled conditions. The most common ageing process uses direct heating up, typically to 45º C during at least 3 months, followed by traditional ageing in oak casks for at least 3 years. The present paper describes the pilot plant facility used for testing of controlled ageing conditions, with the installed controlled systems, including safety devices. Temperature variation does not exceed 2.5 ºC over a three-month period, assuring an adequate adjustment of heat transfer for the testing purposes. Off line data shows that 3 months ageing under controlled heating conditions can give the wine the characteristics obtained in years of traditional ageing. Finally, the development and implementation of an optical fibre based platform for real time measurements and interactive visualization tools for data analysis will be described and discussed.