Following on from my colleague Alex’s post about en-primeur deliveries and some of the discussion about temperature, I have put together a brief note about how our warehouses have held up to the recent high temperatures that may be of interest to some.
Like many, we have been keeping a close eye on the weather over the last month or so, as we ensure that the wine in each of our four warehouses isn’t unduly affected by the high temperatures we have been experiencing.
Each warehouse is fitted with air conditioning and a fair bit of insulation – some of which is made from an environmentally friendly mix of hemp stalks and lime. Air circulation fans in our largest warehouse (Warehouse 4) help to circulate any rising warmer air. Added to that, the thermal mass of some seven million bottles of wine all helps to ensure that both Members’ Reserves and wines destined for future sale are maintained in good condition.
Warehouse 4 air circulation fans (half way up the right hand wall) keeping temperature constant.
To ensure all of these measures are working correctly, we have air temperature sensors positioned throughout each warehouse, as well as some that give an indication of the temperature of the wine itself. Whilst air temperature is quick to respond to changes, the liquid temperature is reassuringly much slower to rise or fall.
In July, the outdoor temperature in Stevenage peaked at around 33C (26th July):
Accuweather temperature graph for Stevenage in July
Looking at the warehouse temperatures over this hottest period, the air temperatures in the warehouses ranged as follows:
Warehouse 1 15.2-16.2C
Warehouse 2 16-18.4C
Warehouse 3 15.7-20.4
Warehouse 4 15.2-17.8C
Whereas bottle temperature sat between 11.5 and 13.4C, illustrating the moderating effect of a great many pallets of wine. The graph below may look dramatic but the vertical temperature axis covers less than 2 degrees C – the peak of 13.4 coming at the time that the outside temperature was about 32 degrees.
All that heat has to go somewhere and it is fair to say that the banks of air conditioning units have been doing more than their fair share for The Society over the last few weeks.
The sunny weather has been great for our solar panels on the roof of Warehouse 1, however, and the electricity generated goes some way towards offsetting the cost of the cooling.
With wine arriving in refrigerated trailers and Alex and team working hard to get everything inside as quickly as possible, any negative impact from the hot weather will have been minimal.
Thanks for making it this far - I’m off to go and sit in a nice cool warehouse for a bit.
Simon (Quality Control Buying Manager)