If you've been making wine in small batches from your own grapes and thinking about going commercial with your enterprise, there are numerous considerations, from bottling and labeling to storage. But one of the most important elements of winemaking is your fluid handling system, particularly water filtration. Here's a look at how the importance of water quality starts in the vineyard and continues through the entire process to the tasting room.
Water Filtration in Grape Growing
It's no secret that wine grapes can be a fragile crop. Keeping your vines healthy is enough of a challenge without complications from less than ideal irrigation water. Having certain minerals in your soil, like calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese, is sufficient--you don't need to be adding them via watering, as an excess of any of these will affect the taste of your finished product or could even kill the vines.
High mineral content in the water can also cause scaling and clogging of your irrigation pipes. Blockages can also be caused by clay, sand, silt, or inorganic debris. This, and any undesirable minerals, can all be removed by filtering water at the source, which will prevent costly repairs down the line.
Water filtering is also necessary in high salinity areas to remove sodium, chloride, and boron, and it can remove potential toxins from your water as well, including
- chlorine (which highly affects the taste of wine, even in microscopic amounts)
Water Issues in Winemaking
Water filtration systems are vital once you move past the pressing process too. Wine making, whether in small quantities or large, runs into many of the same concerns outlined above, especially the removal of chlorine, which is present in most municipal tap water systems.
Once indoors, it's easy to forget all the places where chlorine can come into play in the winemaking process. All cleaning of tanks, beakers, corks, and barrels should ideally be performed with chlorine-free water. Oak barrels, in particular, retain chemicals and need special handling.
Humidity needs to be maintained around the tanks without the risk of mold or bacterial growth. Additionally, many wine growing regions typically experience higher levels of drought than other parts of the country, and wineries can save money and environmental impact by reusing as much water as possible.
The Importance of Fluid Handling Consultants
A professional consultant in fluid handling and water filtration can assist with all of these issues. There are many benefits to hiring an industrial fluid management company:
- They can set up a filtration and water recycling system that is properly scaled for the volume of wine you produce.
- They can address specific chemical problems for your area, such as removing chlorine with activated carbon or setting up a deionizing tank for elements like calcium and sodium.
- Ultraviolet disinfection can be introduced to replace chlorine in cleaning processes and around tanks where mold or bacteria can grow.
- The pH of your drinking water can be adjusted to complement the acidity of your wine, whether for your own lab or a public tasting room.
Setting up a wine making business can be costly and complicated. Your water, however, is not the place to cut corners. Before you even conduct your first press, set up a consultation with a fluid handling company like PFC Equipment, Inc. When you finally raise a glass from your own labors, you'll be toasting the good planning you put in at the start of your winemaking venture.Share