Wine monitoring

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2010 by salvadormrf Tagged: , , , , , ,

“To gain scientific understanding into the vinification process of Madeira wine, we intend to use sensors to study various parameters of the process (e.g. Ethanol, pH, total acid, volatile acid, density, fixed acidity, ash,), as well as actuators to control the environment (e.g. temperature, humidity, etc.)”

Search for sensors

One practical use case was wine monitoring. Due to our limited knowledge in electronics, we looked towards sensors with easy interfacing, to be able to connect in Arduino. Here is a list of  measurable parameters that can be interesting for wine analyses, however, many of these parameters are manually analysed in the lab, using heavy equipment.

After some search, we found some experiences using gas sensors and other sensor, which helped us to make a decision to order or not.

The main criteria for selecting sensor for this experience was :

– easy interfacing
– no maintenance
– affordable

Measure in liquid Order Use
pH Yes (+) Seems reasonable
Temperature Yes (+) Reasonable
Color No (-) Expensive(-) Specific HW and SW
Dissolved Oxygen No (-) Expensive(-) Specific HW and SW(-) Maintenance
Volatile acidity No (-) No sensor
Total acidity No (-) No sensor
Oxidation No (-) No sensor
Ethanol No (-) Expensive(-) Specific HW and SW(-) Maintenance
SO2 No (-) No sensor
Measure in gas Order Use
CO No (+) Reasonable(-) Less important in wine
CO2 Yes (+) Reasonable
Alcohol Yes (+) Reasonable
Relative Humidity Yes (+) Reasonable

pH – pH probe from Vernier

Temperature – Temperature sensor with steel head, from Seeed Depot

CO2 – Parallax CO2 module with mg811 c02 gas sensor, from Parallax

Alcohol – MQ3 gas sensor, from SparkFun

RH – Relative Humidity sensor, from SparkFun

Testing sensors

After the arrive of ordered sensors, we started to test them.

Building probe

The probe construction was the most difficult part to do, because of excess of wiring and lack of space inside the probe. Three attempts were made to build a stable probe (float with equilibrium in the wine), but it was very difficulty to wire and use all sensors along with pH probe in the same module. And in the end the probe was not floating :'(.

Building probe with success

After the previous experience we came with a more simple solution, use 2 modules, one for pH and temperature, and the other for gas sensors, the last attached to the top of the wine container.  The upper module has 2 separated parts, the top one contains the micro-controller (Arduino) , DC jack and RF transmitter an receiver. The bottom part contains the c02, alcohol and relative humidity sensors.


We have the probe uploading sensor data every minute, (RF 433MHz module). The sensor gateway (Arduino +  ethernet shield + RF receiver module), receives this information and sends via HTTP POST to server, which then is published using XMPP protocol.

EOF =)


13 Responses to “Wine monitoring”

  1. […] part of his Master’s dissertation [Salvador Faria] built a sensor suite for wine monitoring. He needed to develop a method of tracking data inside the wine cask during the vinification […]

  2. […] part of his Master’s dissertation [Salvador Faria] built a sensor suite for wine monitoring. He needed to develop a method of tracking data inside the wine cask during the vinification […]

  3. I’d be curious to know how you solved the problem of creating a way to pass wires through to the floating electronics. Most sealants that are on the market aren’t food friendly and probably wouldn’t work well in an alcohol environment. Otherwise, it looks to be a great project.

    • Yes it is very difficult to get a perfect setup, i used a plastic tube with hot glue, but i had problems, a month after the liquid flooded the pH probe (:|). Maybe in the next improvements i will add the “” probe (“%alcohol, %sugar, %attenuation and specific gravity”).

  4. […] part of his Master’s dissertation [Salvador Faria] built a sensor suite for wine monitoring. He needed to develop a method of tracking data inside the wine cask during the vinification […]

  5. so you can connect the ph probe direct to arduino? and you get the values? please more info 🙂

  6. There are great sensors for Color, Dissolved Oxygen and SO2. Email me if you would like some more info. But a quick search through electronics manufacturer’s abroad brought up SO2 Sensors, and I have and DO sensor and for color, that’s a bit more fun, but there is an Arduino color sensor shield (read: gizmo), though for wine I would probably suggest pairing it with an LED.. it would be a bit of work, but would be a lot of fun to get figured out.

  7. Isacc: RE: PH – There are options from Atlas Scientific for about $38 for the electronics (converter from probe to something the Arduino can understand), but my favorite is from SparkysWidgets (google) and only runs about $18. I’ve had trouble the the S.Widgets and cheaper probes, but it is the most feature rich option available. There are a few others, like direct from China and a guy that makes a $30 version that is light on features. The Chinese one is around $35, btw.

    So, then you need a probe. Again, you can go direct to Chinese manufacturers if you are not looking for high quality/ long lasting (though all probes need to be replaces at least once a year), for as little as $10. I would recommend looking (like on Amazon) for probes between $40 and $120 for reasonable quality without breaking the bank.

    If you have further questions, post them here and I’d be happy to answer or you can reach me via: my name, followed by 93 at

  8. Hi,
    in your last img (Line Chart) I can’t see your Alcohol read. Why? Is that a missing correlation about the air alcohol reading and the real alcohol content inside the liquid? How can I correlate the 0.4 – 4 mg/l boundaries of the MQ-3 sensor to a % of alcohol inside the liquid that reach 12 – 14 % of alcohol? Thx

  9. hi, I’d be curious to know how you create this monitor , and if it is possible to send me the code please. Because i want to adapt it for my university project if it is possible. 😀

  10. Hi,
    Excelent proyect!
    How accurate were the alcohol readings?
    I ask because tanks are open during fermentation


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