"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 =)