By Claudia Newcorn – Freelance Writer

Water is often one of the industry’s most mismanaged resources. And as a result of impending statewide regulations, many companies are taking a more environmentally conscientious approach to water management, smart wineries are seeking cost-effective water recycling and improved water management in all areas of their business.

5 Gallons for 1

In 2019, the California State Water Board initiated the review process for Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs) for Wineries that “that addresses land discharge of process water from wineries, grape juice storage facilities, and wine distillation facilities (hereafter collectively referred to as wineries).” A draft review is currently in process.

According to the report, with over 4,500 wineries statewide, the wine industry creates a $71.2 billion dollar impact on California’s economy. And the amount of ‘winery process water’, estimated by the CSWB as approximately 5 gallons of winery process water per gallon of wine produced, is in the millions of gallons. And in case you’re thinking that as a small winery, your ‘water consumption’ isn’t much, a winery producing around 8,400 cases per year can easily use 100,000 gallons of water.

Process water at wineries is generated from a host of activities, from crushing, pressing and bottling operations, to a wide array cleaning procedures. And it is in this latter area in particular that there exists water management and conservation opportunities of which wineries can take advantage.

Water Guzzlers: Cleaning & Sanitation Processes

Among the many factors that generate "process water", the CSWB lists and identifies the following as contributors to process water: tank and/or pipe washing, plate and frame filter cleaning, filter sanitation, centrifuges/decanters cleaning, barrel washing, and surface/floor cleaning. Are all production and sanitation activities where contaminated water can literally go down the drain:

Michael Coleman, Sales & Marketing Manager at Hotsy Pacific explains that among the CSWB’s objectives is a reduction of sanitation contaminants. “The CSWB notes that the best way to control these is through source control. Typically improved wastewater management comes from a combination of technologies required to obtain the desired results. These range from pre-treatment and mechanical separation to evaporation and bio-remediation. The good news is there are a lot of cost-effective options that can transform a company to become both regulatory compliant and eco-conscious.”

Hotsy Pacific has been working closely with clients to cost-effectively address these issues. Co-owner Jim O’Connell explains that, “An understanding of the technologies available combined with working with a qualified professional will insure that the water treatment system provides the desired results. It’s critical to assess the source of the influent water and how is it generated; the constituents, such as oils and solids in the water; and the intended use of the treated water, such as recycle, spot free rinsing, or discharge to sewer. Forward-thinking wineries need to take a proactive stance of smart water management. It’s the way of the future, and the responsible approach to take.”

About Hotsy Pacific

Proud to support and be a member of Northern California wine growers associations, and with a Center in Santa Rosa, market leader Hotsy Pacific works with hundreds of wineries throughout Northern California. Offering free consultations, the company specializes in custom solutions tailored to client needs, as well as cleaning and sanitation equipment sales, rentals, service and repair. They have been recognized as the “go to” company for smart, cost-effective solutions designed to improve productivity, reduce labor costs, and deliver the necessary results, they serve hundreds of wineries, breweries, food manufacturers, ag  businesses and more (