WHERE WASTEWATER COMES FROM

Although every winery is different, there are a few areas that typically contribute to a majority of the water use:

  • Tank cleaning and sanitation

  • Barrel cleaning and sanitation

  • Bottle sterilization

  • Vacuum pumps

  • Pushing wines

Did you know?
30 to 50% of a winery’s annual water use typically occurs during the 60 days of harvest.

Let’s take a closer look at which activities in the winery generate wastewater.

Crushing and Pressing operations typically make up a large portion of the facility’s total effluent during crush season. Wastewater sources include spills and rinsing and sanitizing activities for the crushing, de-stemming and pressing equipment.


Ion Exchange Systems used for wine or juice processing will normally generate a wastewater stream when the resin bed undergoes a regeneration cycle.

Tank Washing is a regular activity in every winery, but the total volume and characteristics of wastewater generated on a daily basis will vary widely depending on the number of tanks in use, tank sizes, the nature of residuals in the tank, additives used in cleaning, and sanitation protocols.

Wastewater Distribution at a Winery_Upda

Plate and Frame Press Operations generate wastewater during cleaning activities. Cleaning is either done manually by spraying down the filter fabric with hoses or automatically with a spray washer system. At some wineries, a clean-in-place (CIP) system is used in which a cleaning agent is added to the spray washer system during an automated cleaning cycle. Manual spray down is typically used when light cleaning is needed, while the CIP is used for deeper cleaning.

Filtration Room sanitation activities can include washing pressure leaf filters, small plate and frame presses and other separator equipment.

Centrifuges and Decanters can generate multiple sources of wastewater including from cleaning, seal water, chase water and watering in/out activities.

Barrel Washing activities generate wastewater from cleaning and sanitizing the barrel interiors and to a much lesser extent washing the barrel exteriors.

Track which winery activities use water with a basic checklist.

Bottling may lead to one or more streams draining from the floor to trench drains or sumps prior to conveyance to the main wastewater collection system. There is often also a spent cleaning solution from the bottling CIP system that is managed similarly.

Water Softener regeneration cycle waste streams result in a high concentration of hardness cations (primarily Calcium and Magnesium) that are displaced from the ion exchange resin media by the high sodium chloride solution.


Boilers produce blowdown each cycle, as a function of the demand for steam within the winery. These needs vary on a daily and seasonal basis.


Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers will contribute high-strength wastewater from periodic blowdown and bleed streams used for site refrigeration and chilling operations. These volumes are directly proportional to the level of equipment activity, which can vary depending on refrigeration demands, the time of year and the portion of the facility served by a particular piece of equipment.

[Adapted from the Comprehensive Guide.]