A technological capstone for the facility will be the world’s first wireless wine-fermentation system, a $1 million assembly of 152 wireless grape fermentors, designed, fabricated and donated by a team of research engineers led by T.J. Rodgers, founder, president and chief executive officer of San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress Semiconductor.

Each of the 200-liter, electro-polished, stainless steel fermentors is individually equipped for automated control of temperature and the “pump-over” process, controlling two of the most important factors in determining final wine characteristics and quality.

Additionally, newly designed fermentor sensors frequently and precisely extract and transmit sugar-concentration data from white and red fermentations across a wireless network. Data from the sensors can be generated every 15 minutes with a precision of 0.25 Brix, a measure of sugar content.

When completed, the winery is expected to contain one of the largest wireless networks in any fermentation facility in the world.

Meanwhile, the new brewery will provide a showcase for the latest in brewing technology, as well as a sophisticated laboratory for conducting research and training students in the science of brewing. It also is intended to provide commercial brewers and suppliers with a small-scale facility in which they can test new recipes or processes.

Good enough to eat

The general foods- and milk-processing laboratories have been designed and built to meet state and federal food- and dairy-grade standards, meaning that the products processed there are fit for human consumption during sensory and nutritional evaluations.

The food-processing pilot plant will facilitate research on a variety of topics including alternative food-processing methods and their nutritional effects; nutritional quality and shelf life of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables; nutritional enhancements from food-processing “waste” products; and improved food formulations.

The milk-processing laboratory will support research in a variety of areas including separation of milk components into functional ingredients, processing of milk that has been modified by the type of feed provided to the cows, and processing of milk from cows that were bred for specific characteristics.