Swiss wines! Discover self-controlled wine fermentation tools

Discover OenoPilot, a tool developed to ease the control over wine fermentation, and join us for some tastings!

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


November 16, 2006 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)

The alcoholic fermentation is an important and defining step in the wine-making process. The yeast’s activity in transforming sugar into alcohol leads to a decrease in the liquid’s density. This decrease is usually monitored with the help of a manual density-meter (one or two measures per day). These alcoholic fermentation controls take time and often give varying results.

The density-meter “OenoPilot”, which was developed by HES-SO and offers the winemaker an automatic and continuous density evolution monitor. This automatic reading is an advantage that frees up precious time during the busy harvest period.

The fermentation density and temperature readings given by OenoPilot are then transferred to a computerized program called “WinePilot” (developed by Solutech), which automatically manages the fermentation conditions. The winemaker can therefore choose his or her desired fermentation speed, stopping or slowing down the fermentation process to influence the characteristics of the future wine, according to his or her past experience. Since we know that the conditions during alcoholic fermentation (temperature, speed) greatly influence the final wine’s characteristics, we can understand the importance of precisely mastering fermentation conditions.

The development of the density-meter OenoPilot was financed during two and a half years by the HES-SO, and then transferred to industry by Solutech, who was very interested in producing this material, and also by Keller Fluid Pro, who now commercializes this product. The commitment of the HES-SO to support industry has been therefore accomplished.


6:30 pm doors open
6:45 pm self-controlled alcoholic wine fermentation (S. Fabre);
industrialization (A. Lehmann);
practical demonstration (K.Fast);
faculty presentation (C. Briguet);
testimonial: study wine-growing in Switzerland (K.Fast)
7:30 pm Swiss wines tasting, fingerfood & networking
9:00 pm doors closes


Conrad Briguet, Director, Engineering School of Oenology, HES-SO

Since earning his degree in agricultural engineering at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne in 1986, Conrad has worked as the director of an agricultural financial advising company, specializing in viticultural cost prices and credits in the Vaud region of Switzerland. He prepared and launched research projects in vineyard terroirs and different grape varieties grown in the region. Since March 1st of this year, Conrad is the director of the Engineering School of Oenology at Changins.

Sébastien Fabre, Professor of Oenology, EIC, HES-SO

Sébastien graduated from the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne in 1975 as a chemical engineer. In 1977, he earned his PhD in chemical engineering and surface problems in distillation process performances. Presently, he is a professor of oenology, responsible for cellar technology and wine analyses lectures at the Engineering School of Enology at Changins (EIC), as well as acting oenology department head. He researches in the field of wine and oxygen, oxygen and polyphenols, and the development of technology like the density captor and nephelocolorimeter for enology.

Krista Fast, EIC, HES-SO Originally from the Willamette Valley of Oregon

Krista earned a degree in Environmental Science at UC Santa Barbara with an emphasis in environmental education in 1997. After spending a year teaching following graduation, her interests refocused to winemaking. After working harvests in New Zealand, Oregon, Burgundy (France) and Switzerland, she recently completed an oenology degree at the Engineering School of Oenology at Changins in Switzerland where she is now working in enology research as well as giving lectures in viticulture.

André Lehmann, Solutech SA.

An electrical engineer holding an MSEE from the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, André is a former Research Associate at Rocky Mountain Institute (, where he co-authored ‘Small Is Profitable: The Hidden Economic Benefits of Making Electrical Resources the Right Size’. After leaving RMI, he completed a PhD in atmospheric physics at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. He works now as a development engineer for Solutech SA, where he is in charge of the WinePilot software development and certification.


Photo: Myleen Hollero