Chapter 24

Winery Wastewater Treatment

Characteristics of Winery Wastewater

The wine production process is divided into two main periods namely, the vintage period, and the non-vintage period, each generating a different kind of waste. The vintage season is characterized by grape harvesting and grape juice handling and management. More than half of the annual wastewater flow and load is generated during this period. Activities during the non-vintage season are primarily associated with handling fermented wine and cleaning of winery facilities. In reality, the vintage and nonvintage seasons overlap, and in general, non-vintage season activities increase as vintage season activities taper off. At large cellars where processes associated with the nonvintage period take place throughout the year there may be little division between these two periods.

Types of Contaminants

The composition of winery wastewater is highly variable between wineries as a result of general management practices, the amount of water used, the size and design of the winery, and different wine-making techniques. Winery wastewater quality vary, even within a single winery due to the various steps in wine-making and the type of wine produced. For example, there is a great difference between the production of red and white wine, both in terms of pollutant load and water consumption. It is estimated that the organic matter load can be five times higher in red wine production and the volume of wastewater generated can amount to up to twice that generated by white wine production.

Wastewater Parameters

Winery effluents characterization is essential in order to limit variability in terms of a properly designed effluent management system, check proper functioning of an operational plant, or wastewater quality monitor after treatment. The most common parameters for wastewater characterization and control of the treatment system are detailed below.

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