Treatment of winery wastewater

Commercial wine production generates large amounts of wastewater, which usually has a high concentration of organic material and salts. These substances result from product losses and cleaning processes. Treatment of winery wastewater is of great importance due to increasing environmental regulations. There are various treatment options for wastewater, which differ in terms of their effectiveness, cost, and reliability. 

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On this page you will find detailed information about the treatment of winery wastewater. You will learn to understand your wastewater, what contaminant load it carries, why it is important to treat your wastewater, and what options are available. We will also inform you about the purchase and installation of your wastewater treatment system. 

Every winery has a unique production process and a different state of the art. Therefore – even with the same amount of wine produced – different amounts of wastewater with different pollutant loads are produced. For us, it is crucial to pick up each winery at its state of the art to offer the most effective and cost-efficient wastewater treatment plant. 

The correct design of treatment of winery wastewater leads to a long-lasting and reliable system, which saves costs for indirect discharge or heavy pollution charges in the medium and long term. 

treatment of winery wastewater

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We offer solutions for various applications. These include the new design of a treatment plant, the expansion of an existing system and the provision of a leasing system. 

To begin with, we are happy to support you with an on-site visit, a consultation, and a free, non-binding offer. If you already have key data, wishes or requirements for your wastewater treatment plant, we will be happy to include them in our planning. 

We have already worked with international wineries and therefore have a great deal of experience in the field of wastewater composition and the design of the treatment plant. 

Sources and characteristics of winery wastewater

Most of the wastewater that is produced during the production of wine is cleaning water. This is used at various stations and therefore absorbs different dirt loads. During the processing of grapes and must, wastewater is produced, especially during the cleaning of transport equipment, presses, devices, filters, and containers. This wastewater is mainly generated by washing and rinsing individual production components. 

Production stepProduction component
Grape harvestHarvesters and transport devices
VinificationGrape Mill, Destemmer, Mash container, Winepress, Pumps
Must clarification Separator, Filter, Must container, Cellar dishes, Pipes, Hoses, Pumps
1st + 2nd tappingSeparator, Filter, Tank, Barrel, Cellar dishes, Pipes, Hoses, Pumps
Bottle cleaningBottle washer
Bottle sterilisation + bottle fillingBottle sterilisation, Filler, Filter, Container, Pipes, Hoses, Pumps
treatment of winery wastewater

After the harvest and a defined storage time, the grapes are pressed. This separates the pomace (berry skins, seeds, and stems) from the cloudy pressed must. This is then filtered and stored for alcoholic fermentation. During the pre-clarification of must and the subsequent purification measures, large amounts of wastewater are produced, which is primarily cloudy and contains sugar. 

During wine production, an average of 200 litres of wastewater are produced per hectare of vineyard and day. This seasonal period covers about 100 days for bottled wine production and 50 days for bulk wine production. Outside the production season, wastewater generation is reduced by half. Therefore, water consumption at wineries varies significantly throughout the year. 

During the harvest and the production period, mainly organically polluted wastewater is produced. This is usually wastewater containing yeast and sugar with high BOD5 and COD values as well as peel and lees residues. When cleaning the production components, mainly halogen-containing cleaning agents and oxidising disinfectants are used. Bottle and barrel cleaning mainly involves inorganic contamination by alkalis. 

Dissolved Solved
Organic Leaves, Seeds, Yeasts, Bacteria, Label residues, Cork residues, Stem parts, Berry skin Complexing agent, Alcohol, Sugars, Acids, Protein, Detergent surfactants, Label glue, Disinfectants
Inorganic Soil Acids and alkalis, SO2, Salts, Disinfectants, Complexing agents

The special thing about wastewater from wine production is the very low COD:BOD5 ratio. In around 20 random samples from different wineries, this is between 1.3 and 2.0, making the wastewater ideally suited for biological wastewater treatment. The following table gives an overview of the composition of wastewater from wine production: 

ParameterConcentration in mg/l
COD296 11932015 553
BOD5130 0001258 858
TOC2 5004001 349
ph value1235
TSS79 635160211 168

Options for treatment of winery wastewater 

treatment of winery wastewater

There are different methods for treatment of winery wastewater – depending on the degree of purification you want to achieve. 

The first option is to collect the wastewater for transport. However, this is not an efficient alternative because, on the one hand, storage facilities must be available, which must be adapted to seasonal fluctuations. On the other hand, considerable costs are incurred for the transport. 

The second option is to discharge the wastewater into the sewer system to send it to the municipal wastewater treatment plant. For this, every discharger needs a permit from the regional wastewater authority. Prior to discharge, an extensive measurement of the pollution load takes place to determine the discharge fees. Without pre-treatment, heavy pollution charges may be levied. To avoid this, pre-treatment is indispensable. The first pre-treatment step is always screening to remove coarse solids such as cores, shell residues or stalk residues. The second pre-treatment step is a DAF or SBR process to reliably break down COD and BOD5. 

The third option for treatment of winery wastewater is the direct discharge into a receiving body of water. This variant is particularly interesting for wineries, as they can use the treated wastewater to irrigate the vineyards. Since some of the wastewater seeps away and some flows into a public body of water, it is particularly important to comply with the required discharge values. To achieve this reliably, a biological treatment step is suitable. 

The fourth option is to reuse the treated wastewater in the company. Depending on country-specific legislation, the wastewater may only be reused in certain areas. In most cases, the treated wastewater is suitable for use in the CIP area or as cleaning water for the production buildings. For this to be possible without hesitation, an additional treatment step such as ultrafiltration or reverse osmosis is required. 

The table below gives you an overview of the best process combinations for your individual treatment of winery wastewater. 

Wastewater source OptionsProcess technologies
WineryStorage and removalNo treatment
Discharge into the sewerage systemMechanical screening
Dissolved air flotation or SBR process
Discharge into a receiving water bodyMechanical screening
Dissolved air flotation or SBR process
FBBR process
ReuseMechanical screening
Dissolved air flotation or SBR process
FBBR process
Ultrafiltration or reverse osmosis

The selection of the correct process is crucial to achieve the desired cleaning performance. We offer the correct solution for every application. Do not hesitate to contact us! We will be happy to advise you. 

Ask us about the best process technology for your winery!

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Planning and purchase of a wastewater treatment plant for wineries 

Now that you know the sources and compositions of your wastewater, the next step is to plan your individual wastewater treatment plant. 

PPU Umwelttechnik GmbH is one of the leading companies in the field of treatment of winery wastewater. We have already worked with numerous, international wineries and implemented wastewater treatment solutions for various requirements.  

ClearFox FBBR wastewater treatment solution

Our focus is on: 

  • Turnkey solutions in every field of application 
  • Automatic operation with remote monitoring 
  • Long and reliable operating time 
  • Low operating costs 
  • Compact footprint 
  • Individual advice and on-site visits 
  • Rapid preparation of individual quotations 
  • In-house laboratory for the analysis of your wastewater 

Our many years of experience in wastewater treatment for wineries make us particularly flexible. We offer various processes that are precisely tailored to your situation on site and the desired degree of treatment.  

We have all systems tested by PIA GmbH, an independent testing institute for wastewater technology, as well as the TÜV. These certify our outstanding cleaning efficiency as well as the excellent workmanship of all materials. 

Each winery produces its own individual wastewater. We have found this out in numerous laboratory analyses using samples from international wineries. Therefore, especially in this sector, it is crucial to know each situation in detail to offer the best and most cost-efficient solution. 

Almost all our solutions are suitable for installation in an ISO sea container. This makes them mobile on the one hand – they can also be set up outside the company building – and modular on the other – they can be expanded at any time. Each wastewater treatment system for wineries has a user-friendly control system that allows your staff to make small changes to the cleaning performance themselves. Nevertheless, our service team is always available to answer any questions you may have. 

The following guide gives you an overview of what you need to consider when planning and purchasing a wastewater treatment system for wineries. 

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