Wineyard Castel d’Encus

Spanish vineyard cools and heats with Swedish ground source heating system.

The background

One of the most important aspects of wine production is to maintain the correct temperature. It has to be right where the wine is growing, and during fermentation and storage.

In 2001, Raül Bobet set off on a journey through the Pyrenees in search of a suitable location for a new vineyard. Bearing climate change very much in mind, he was looking for a site that would be affected as little as possible by this. Castel d’Encus proved to be just perfect. In this mountainous area of Pallars Jussà in the Pyrenees, at an altitude of about 1000 metres, monks had been making wine since the 12th century. The ancient fermenting vats, carved out of the rocks by the monks, were still there in good condition. Even in those days, the temperature-retaining properties of the bedrock allowed the fermentation process to be controlled.


NIBE’s ground source heat pumps at Castel d’Encus provide heating and cooling that meet all the temperature control needs of this new Spanish wineyard.

Castel d’Encus will be showing the greatest possible consideration to the environment as it begins its production of wine. The winery uses no pesticides or herbicides and all the wine that it sells is produced solely on the estate. What is truly innovative, however, is the winery’s use of an ancient method in a new way.

The monks used geothermal energy for temperature control, and now state-of-the-art technology from Swedish NIBE is being applied for the same purpose. It is of utmost importance to maintain the exact temperature throughout the fermentation process. And what that temperature is depends on several factors, such as the variety of grapes being used. The wineyard is using a system of five NIBE FIGHT ER 1320 pumps, each rated at 40 kW. This system provides a total output of 200 kW. It uses a so-called 4-pipe system, which is unique in that it both cools and heats at the same time and that just the one system meets both these needs using the minimum amount of energy. The system has four pipes - two for heated water and two for cooled water. The heat energy and cooling are both extracted from boreholes in the bedrock. The heat pump and the two water systems are controlled by a Building Management System to obtain exactly the right temperature.


Castel d’Encus also benefits from another technological innovation that makes it possible to operate two wine vats in parallel. Should one of the vats require cooling and the other heating, the surplus energy from one can be used to heat the other. But if more heat is needed, it can be taken from the bedrock. When more cooling is required, the surplus heat is pumped down into the bedrock. The system is expected to have an energy coefficient of performance (COP ) of at least 4, but sometimes as much as 5. It is estimated that the system will save Castel d’Encus about 50-60% of the energy it would otherwise have used. All thanks to what is basically the same method used all those centuries ago by the monks.


Site: Wineyard Castel d’Encus

District: The Pyrenees, Spain

Heat pumps: 5 x NIBE Fighter 1320-40 (200 kW)

Solution: NIBE 4-pipe systeme, active and passive cooling

Savings: Approx. 50-60% of the energy consumption