Fixture Amber Storm - Interview Jean-Baptiste Fontes



Operations Director Thomas Watt Lighting Pro

The taste of light is a phenomenon well known to wine growers, what types of lighting are particularly harmful for wines?

The taste of light is mainly present in white wines and sparkling wines but also in rosé wines and supremely in certain spirits such as Cognac.

It comes from the exposure of wine to UV and blue spectra causing the redoxination of sulfur amino acids and the degradation of vitamin B2 also called riboflavin altering wine by the transformation of methionine into methanethiol, more commonly : a taste of boiled cabbage or wet wool, or melon for cognacs.

Unfortunately, following many research, no adjuvant can limit this problem since only the light is the cause.

This phenomenon of taste of light, increases with the appearance of "transparent" bottles, a less pronounced phenomenon with "green" or "brown" (but existing) bottles. Transparent bottles have a fashion effect, and to date marketing is developing all kinds of containers of this type.

You have just launched the fixture, what technology did you support?

After many experiments and research done by oenologists, tasting wines exposed to different lights shows that amber-yellow LEDs can overcome this problem.

It is by taking cognizance of this research and of the stake of this problem with the company Valentin Thièrion, specialist of disgorging and bottling of champagne that Thomas Watt developed an amber monochromatic LED lighting allowing to protect the wines of the taste of light.

Our design office specializing in qualitative LED lighting in industry has worked on the design and integration of specific LED bars with a light spectrum that meets the specifications of the taste of light.

Once the fixture was assembled, we worked with the CSTB and PISEO to test the spectrum and validate our lighting with the CIVC (Interprofessional Champagne Wine Committee). The teams of Valentin Thierion us on this approach.

We were also accompanied by the CIVC, in order to finalize our amber led lighting and we worked on the bandwidth of this one in order to get closer to the requirements CIVC / oenologists.

What are the characteristics of this luminaire?

Amber Storm light provides a lighting solution adapted to the oenological environment, in fact its rounded shape facilitates cleaning and different diffusers are available depending on the type of lighting. The amber LED fixture produces a monochromatic light to avoid the "taste of light" thanks to its specific light spectrum, suitable for cellars. It does not emit UV or blue light.

The waterproof design allows for increased resistance to wet or aggressive environments. Anodic Sulfuric Oxidation (OAS) treatment enhances its resistance to aggressive atmospheres.

For bottles in the historic cellar, the risk is that the block will deteriorate very quickly due to a chemical phenomenon caused by the humidity associated with the chalk of these cellars (characteristic of the soil in the region).

We are currently working to release an alternative product that takes into account this phenomenon. This new solution will be presented soon.

What are the advantages ?

The modularity of this fixture makes it possible to adapt the lighting in all types of cellars. Its design Made in France, optimal, allows easy maintenance and adaptability to all types of environment and fixation.

The fixture is made in France and has a lifespan exceeding standards (from 5 to 10 years). In addition to financing, we integrate a biannual monitoring of the wavelength to validate that the light wave does not change over time and secure the quality of your stored products.

The advantages of our solution, can be defined in 2 main axes:

1 - The Design Office : Thomas Watt Lighting Pro is first and foremost a design office and not a mere reseller of Lighting, which allows us to adapt this product in real time. We master this entire fixture, from design to assembly, which is realized in an Adapted Enterprise (EA) near Rennes.

2 - A quarterly follow-up : It is planned at the time of the sale to have a quarterly surveillance in order to secure the amber fixture with respect to our customers.

What services were involved in this project ?

The internal research office at Thomas Watt based in Rennes was the first service solicited by the problem of taste of light with the teams of Valentin Thiéron. They have worked closely together to develop a LED fixture that does not affect the taste of wine and spirits but also meets the essential needs of wine and spirit wine and spirits: a functional and ergonomic product adapted to the strict conditions of production and conservation of wine.

The production was coordinated by Julie Duhot and by my care, we made the decision to outsource the assembly of this new product to a suitable company located near Rennes, 80% of employees are disabled: Bretagne Atelier, indeed we are very attached to our CSR values.

For the marketing of the Amber Storm fixture, we work with the help of Valentin Thièron's sales teams and benefit from their expertise and knowledge of this very specific sector.

The link between the CIVC and VALENTIN THIERION / THOMAS WATT LIGHTING PRO has been provided by our team and will continue throughout the life of this product. Other products are being validated by the CIVC in other areas.

With this solution, what new services will customers benefit from?

Customers will benefit from monitoring the evolution of the light spectrum over time. They will also have the possibility to couple a humidity sensor.

They will of course benefit from the Thomas Watt Global Offer: supply, installation, maintenance, finance and the possibility of integrating this into a Valentin Thièrion service.

This new product will allow us to associate it with other services such as:

  • Moisture detection
  • Fixtures connected with static and dynamic presence
  • Double fixtures (amber and white) for disgorging areas on cooperatives and large houses

 Jean Baptiste Fontes Thomas Watt

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