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Winemaking requires meticulous cleaning of equipment and surfaces to prevent contamination. So it should come as no surprise that cleaning and sanitation activities are among the primary uses of water in a winery.

At the same time, these activities tend to increase the salinity of wastewater, because most cleaning agents contain forms of salt. Salts are among the most difficult and expensive wastewater outputs to address through treatment.

Improving the efficiency of cleaning and sanitation can yield large reductions in water use and wastewater loading. It may take some trialing and experimentation to come up with the winery’s ideal cleaning and sanitation regime, but the effort will be well worth it in the end.

Hot Spot!
Cleaning and sanitation activities often account for more than two-thirds of all wastewater in the winery.

Cleaning is the removal of extra or foreign solids or liquids from surfaces.

Sanitation is the removal of unwanted matter or microorganisms to prevent potential negative effects on wine quality.


Reduce Chemical Amounts
Are there opportunities to reduce the quantity of chemical inputs used, while still achieving a satisfactory result?

Substitute Products
Are lower-salinity cleaning products available that will still get the job done? Switching from sodium-based to potassium-based cleaners can be beneficial, because potassium is a plant nutrient when applied to land. Ask your chemical vendor what other cost-effective options might be available.

Use Dry Cleaning Techniques
Do you sweep, squeegee, brush and shovel before applying water? Do you keep floors smooth so they are easier to clean?

Pay Attention to Timing
Do you have clear standards in place for when cleaning and sanitizing should (or shouldn't) occur? Do you want to have the tank sanitized after emptying and/or prior to filling? How long can a tank or line be kept empty between fills without the need for re-sanitizing?

Use The Right Tools for the Job
Do staff use high-pressure nozzles with automatic shut-offs? Are hoses and transfer lines the smallest diameter necessary to reduce cleaning requirements? Is ease-of-cleaning a consideration when new equipment is being purchased (i.e. rounded corners and fully polished seams)?

Substitute Hot Water
Can any of the cleaning and sanitation steps be completed using only hot water, without additives

Substitute Steam
Can any of the sanitation steps be substituted with steam cleaning instead?

Consider Ozone
Could ozone be substituted for the final rinse in cleaning/sanitation activities?

Recirculate Caustics
Have you evaluated the potential for caustic recycling and reclamation? This typically entails capturing spent caustic, sometimes filtering it and reusing it for other needs at the winery.

[Adapted from Water & Wine and the Winery Process Wastewater Management Handbook.]

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