The use of refrigeration in fermentation

Date or time period: 1940s

In Australia, refrigeration of white wine fermentors started in the late 1940s and with red fermentors in the early 1950s.

Entry from Leconfield Wines Pty Ltd (April 2013): Sydney Hamilton of Hamilton Ewells was the first to realise the importance of temperature control in making table wine in Australia. This was in the pre-stainless steel era and he did a number of experiments in the 1930s with immersed copper coils connected to a fridge plant, closed wooden fermentation tanks etc. He eventually hit on the idea of digging an underground cellar, filling it with jarrah vats and oak hogsheads, and applying mechanical refrigeration to it – essentially a very large fridge. That enabled Hamilton’s to produce a fine Moselle style wine, based on Pedro and a bit of Verdelho. It was probably the first delicate and aromatic white wine that had ever been made in Australia. And it was the first serious cold fermentation and cold storage cellar in an Australian winery and that was a major breakthrough for quality table wine.