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Establishing a clear, actionable system for collecting, tracking and analyzing water use is an important early step towards addressing water quality in the winery. Navigate the steps below and explore which of the resources are best suited to the winery’s needs and objectives.


To identify and prioritize actions that reduce wastewater volume and improve water quality, you will need to collect some water usage data. Take a look at what water use data the winery already collects and ask if they are sufficient for making fully informed management decisions. Although there are cost/benefit considerations in collecting data, a more complete data set will provide a basis for selecting optimal water conservation and waste minimization strategies.

Step One
setting u meters

Setting Up Meters

In an ideal scenario, each area of the winery will be individually metered so that the relative contributions of winery activities to overall usage can be directly measured. For helpful information on how to design and install a winery water metering system, check out these short video resources from the Water & Wine online platform.

Watch videoHow to Determine Water Meter Placement

Watch video: How to Select and Install Water Meters


Recording Data

Establish a tracking system that makes sense for your winery. Operational data should be recorded at least monthly. Daily or weekly data collection is better during crush and other periods of high water use.


Post tracking sheets near water fixtures and use them to monitor meter readings and/or duration of water use activity. [Adapted from Water & Wine.]

Basic Data Needs

At a minimum, document the winery’s ‘Water In’ and ‘Water Out’ information for the past three years. Make a list of winery activities that use water.

understaning flow

Understanding Flow Meters

Flow meters play an essential role in the development of a winery water efficiency program. They are designed to measure the flow of a material through a pipe. It is important to choose an appropriate flow meter based on the material (solid or liquid and its chemical and physical properties) being transported.


Use the flow meter guidelines linked below to identify the most appropriate meter for the type of flow (constant, intermittent, low, high, etc.) and the location of that flow.

Flowmeter Directory

A comprehensive web portal on flow meter technology and suppliers of flow meters.

Seametrics Flowmeter Finder

Identify flow meters based on specific use.

PG&E’s Tool Lending Library

Customers of Pacific Gas & Electric may borrow flow meters and other energy and building measurement tools.

[Adapted from CCSW, Chapter 10.]

ste 2
winery water efficiency


Next, you need to gain a full understanding of the relative contribution of various winery activities to process water. A Facility Water Balance or water inventory is a useful tool for doing this.


There is no one "best" way to organize water use data; choose the method that most suits the winery’s design and objectives. For example, a smaller facility that only crushes, filters and ferments on-site may be able to adequately represent water use data in a simple table.

Winery Water Efficiency and Hot Spots Tool
This Excel-based spreadsheet, developed by CSWA, provides a highly-detailed view of water usage within the facility. Use it to pinpoint potential areas for water use reductions. The tool includes options for estimating water use where actual meter data is limited or unavailable.

Hot Spots tool screenshot.png

Example Inventory + Cooper-Garrod Case Study
Use these pages from the Sustainable Water Management Handbook for Small Wineries to estimate a high-level breakdown of water usage by winery activity. Water usage of various equipment can be approximated using flow rates and approximate duration of usage. A case study of Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards demonstrates how a simple water balance can be assembled and lead to important revelations and improvements.

Inventory Worksheet 
This worksheet from the Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy will walk you through each winery activity and helps you calculate water usage based on input data for gallons per minute used in a task, task frequency and operating days per year. Use this worksheet if you already have a solid data set and need help organizing and understanding total water usage and identifying data gaps.

example inventory
inventory wrsheet
step 3


With water use data in hand, you can calculate and track metrics that allow you to evaluate progress over time, as well as compare the winery’s performance to industry benchmarks.


Some basic metrics to consider:

  • Wastewater to Wine ratio

  • Peak daily water usage

  • Volume of water used to clean/sanitize each tank (average, min, max)

  • Volume of water used to clean/sanitize each barrel (average, min, max)

  • Volume of water used to clean floors (average, min, max)

  • Volume of water used to push wine

  • Volume of water used per bottle filled

The Water & Wine platform features two helpful worksheets for tracking key metrics, which you can download below.

Industry Benchmark
Wastewater-to-wine ratios between 3:1 and 10:1.

A key operational metric for every winery to calculate is the gallons of wastewater generated per gallon of wine produced. Gallon of wine produced is the combined total of tons processed, wine received and juice received. Alternatively, you can use the total of cases bottled and wine/juice shipped offsite. For small and midsize wineries, a typical ratio is 3-6 gallons wastewater per gallon of wine. However, it is not unusual for wineries to have a lower ratio, particularly if bottling occurs offsite. If your ratio is above 10, you likely have opportunities to improve your water use efficiency.


[Adapted from the Small Wineries Handbook.]

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