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Focus your water quality sustainability strategies on reducing the volume and strength of wastewater that needs to be treated. Seek ways to minimize the need for wastewater treatment as much as possible, as treatment systems can be complicated, costly, energy-intensive and time-consuming to maintain.

Source Reductions are actions that lower wastewater loadings and/or reduce the amount of water used in the winery. These include product substitutions, loss prevention techniques and opportunities for automation. There are abundant opportunities throughout the winery to implement source reductions and improve on those already in place.

Wastewater Recycling should also be prioritized where feasible. This includes reusing wastewater multiple times for the same process, using it for another purpose in a different process and reuse facilitated by treatment. Outside of the facility, more and more California wineries are exploring ways to recycle water and wastewater byproducts as irrigation.

  • Use and reuse

  • Reuse facilitated by treatment 

  • Reclamation

  • At the source 

  • End of pipe 

  • Good operating practices

  • Technology changes or upgrades

  • Input material changes

  • Product changes 

Source Reduction

(most favorable)



The best approach for a given winery will be a combination of Source Reductions, Recycling & Reuse and Treatment.

Read more about how to choose the options that work best for your winery.

Download a worksheet to weigh and compare your sustainability options.

[Adapted from the Comprehensive Guide. Graphic adapted from USEPA.]

Use these guiding questions as you begin to evaluate potential practices, technologies, or reuse opportunities.

  • What is the main benefit expected from implementing this practice or technology?

  • How much will it cost and how do costs compare to other options? Is it cost-effective, considering the specific conditions at the winery?

  • Can the practice or technology be implemented in a reasonable amount of time without disrupting production?

Visit the Resources page for more Key Questions.

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