A few weeks ago the Napa cellars team got to go on a little field trip to the waste water treatment facility. I have always known about “the ponds” but never really knew what went on there. I learned that the ponds were actually a state of the art water treatment facility that treats all the water that we use here at the winery. Believe it or not it takes a lot of water to make wine. All the washing, sterilizing, cleaning, and rinsing we do really adds up. It was fascinating to learn that non of that water goes to waste. Instead it goes down a drain and into a pond. It sits in this pond to allow the heavy solids to sink. Next it is sent into one of two tanks that contain microbes. These micro bacteria eat away at the dirty water. Eventually the water and microbes are sent to a settling tank, all the micro bacteria sink to the bottom as solids. The water is then pumped back into a fresh pond and allowed to sit until it is needed. For now we use it to water in landscaping around the winery.The left over sludge is rich nutrients. Currently our company is looking for practical and convenient use for this sludge. Somebody suggested we use it for fertilizer. However, the Napa valley soil is really rich in potassium, so is this settlement. Its not very practical to add more potassium to the soil. any ideas on what to use this rich sludge for?
The water treatment facility is a first of its kind in wineries. We have two people who monitor the cleanliness of the water on a daily bases. They are responsible for keeping the microbiology alive and happy. They make sure all the pumps and aerators are working properly and that no cross contamination goes on. What’s amazing is the fact that the facility is capable of cleaning up to 250,000 gallons of water in a single day. That’s a good thing because during harvest we use a lot of water. Its nice to know that it is not just going down the drain. Other wineries have noticed as well, and have come out to inspect our facility to see how we have set up our treatment plant.
Not only do we make fine wine, But we also look after the environment as well.
Living the dream~Jacob