Application Story

Wine collections are traditionally stored in cellars. But in the almost entirely basement-free state of Texas, Mark Nelson, owner of Classic Wine Storage & Services, oversees multiple warehouses in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Experts agree that optimal wine storage temperatures are between 55°F to 56°F, with 65% relative humidity (RH). If wine is stored at higher temperatures for extended periods of time, chlorinated and brominated chemical compounds transfer from the cork into the contents of the bottle, leaving the wine unpalatable or “corked.” Maintaining 65% relative humidity prevents overly dry environments that can cause wine corks to dry out, allowing oxygen to enter the bottle and spoil or oxidize the contents. Excessive humidity can damage wine labels.

To keep an eye on environmental conditions in its facilities, Classic Wine Storage & Services searched for a self-contained temperature and relative humidity monitoring system. "I'd hoped to avoid paying recurring fees," says Nelson. "Since many third-party monitoring services charge monthly for data, I needed to find a wireless solution I could deploy and run myself."

After evaluating a number of systems, Nelson chose a HOBO® Wireless Temp/RH Monitoring Kit from Onset, a Massachusetts-based supplier of data loggers and weather stations. The compact system, which costs less than $1,000, includes three wireless temperature/RH sensors, a data receiver that connects to a PC via USB interface, and software that allows users to view and analyze data, configure alarm notifications, and manage the wireless sensor network.

Nelson installed the kit’s three data nodes in his smallest warehouse, an approximately 7,500-square-foot refrigerated space. Nodes positioned high on shelving are wirelessly connected to other nodes in a daisy-chain arrangement, with nodes situated as much as 300 feet apart.

Temperature and humidity measurements are recorded every five minutes and wirelessly transmitted to the system’s data receiver connected to Nelson’s PC. There, accompanying HOBOware Pro® software displays a near real-time view of the environmental data in graph form. Nelson configured the software to automatically offload the data into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file on his PC. This file is continuously updated to a Cloud location using Dropbox, a file hosting service. This allows Nelson to access his data from anywhere at any time from a variety of Web-enabled devices.

Nelson also relies on pre-configured email alerts that alarm him to temperature readings measuring above 60°F or below 50°F.

Eventually, Nelson plans to have a Web developer write code to extract data every 15 minutes from the Excel files and send updates directly to the company’s Website. With this in place, customers will have total access to the near real-time data. Nelson also plans to install HOBO Wireless Temp/RH Kits in his remaining two 26,000-square-foot warehouses.