A donation of new electronic temperature control equipment and software from Refrigeration Technology, Inc. will provide viticulture and enology students at California State University, Fresno with state-of-the-art features for the university’s commercial winery operation.

The SuperStat, a computerized control system that monitors temperature and humidity, will be installed during the 2001 spring semester, announced Robert Wample, chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology and director of the Viticulture and Enology Research Center.

The donation is valued at more than $16,000, according to Glen Marks, president of Refrigeration Technology, Inc. of Clearlake (Lake County), California. This is the company’s first contribution to the Fresno State enology program.

With more than twenty years experience in the industrial refrigeration industry, Refrigeration Technology‘s customers include several major wineries and breweries in California. SuperStat units also can be found in the food industry.

A key feature of the new system is the ability to continuously monitor the contents of each wine tank within the facility as well as to graphically plot the history of each fermentation tank, said Kevin Connor, production manager of the Fresno State winery, who was instrumental in obtaining the donation.

“It’s a much needed addition to our commercial winery operation and we look forward to utilizing all of its features,” Connor said.

Presently, temperature control is tied to the university’s campuswide system, allowing the winery little control over its specific area. Problems that affect the entire system could have disastrous effects on the product in storage, Connor said.

In addition to the day-to-day benefits, the new system also provides the enology program with several educational opportunities by plotting the fermentation.

“This applied teaching method will enhance the student’s understanding of winemaking and the fermentation process,” said K. C. Fugelsang, Fresno State winemaster.

Wample expressed his appreciation for Refrigeration Technology’s contribution to the winery.

“In order to stay ahead, we must maintain strong industry partnerships,” he said. “This partnership with Refrigeration Technology, Inc. is a good example of how the university is working with industry leaders to improve our educational program and winemaking.”

California State University, Fresno’s viticulture and enology programs and Refrigeration Technology, Inc. will be exhibitors at the Unified Grape and Wine Symposium on Jan. 24-25 at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Co-sponsored by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and Enology and the California Association of Winegrape Growers, this event is the largest wine and winegrape trade show.

Fresno State is the first and only university in the nation that is licensed to produce, bottle and sell wine commercially. For the past two years, the program has received top honors at North America’s largest wine judging event, the California State Fair Wine Competition.

For more information about Fresno’s State’s enology program contact Wample at (559) 278.2089.