Evoqua understand the importance of cleanliness in the winemaking business and offers ozone solutions for winery equipment and barrel sanitisation. Many wineries in the US and Europe use either Evoqua’s portable ozone systems in applications that include barrel washing, tank and transfer hose sanitation or they integrate the generators to their automated clean-in-place (CIP) processes. However, ozone is not a cleaning agent, and will not remove dirt and solids, it is a no-rinse non-chlorinated sanitising agent – more a final safety step.
Ozone is made up of three oxygen molecules (O3) and is much less stable than the oxygen that exists in our atmosphere (O2). The O3 is created in a mobile generator by an electrical discharge between two plates. It has to be generated for use when needed, as it can’t be stored. The O3 is soluble and used as a cold-water solution, rather than in its gaseous form, but this rapidly breaks down – after 20 or 30 minutes. This makes it safe for the operators and no respirator or breathing apparatus is needed. The device is rather like a car wash or pressure washer, with a spray gun, and it’s a small piece of equipment designed as a portable cart. Other solutions to integrate to automated systems are also available.
The ozone containing solution is then applied to the equipment as a spray wash that sanitises the surface that it comes in to contact with. It is a strong oxidising agent, and damages the cell walls of microbes, including yeasts, moulds, bacteria bio-film – and any organic compound. It leaves little or no residue, no taint or any change in pH meaning there is no risk for the product.
Ozonated water is particularly suitable for barrel cleaning. In the past, barrel cleaning and sanitation practices included the use of chemicals. Barrel sanitation was a trickier challenge because of the porous properties of oak and possible change in flavour profile of the wine due to chemical retention. The use of ozonated water for barrel and tank sanitation are now widely adopted by the wine industry as it is an oxidant, that decomposes naturally into oxygen, without the harmful disinfection by-products of harsher agents. The wash with ozonated water is done by ambient temperature, which corresponds to energy savings. An-other benefit of the ozone treatment process is that it does not damage the interior nor reduce the useful life of the barrel.
Using ozone in the sanitising process saves time, energy, and costs. Hot water steps can be reduced, so saving on heating costs, and it has low running costs. It is a very simple process only water, air and energy, items which are available in any facility. Ozonated water methods of sanitisation generally have a lower water footprint than other methods, and a lower energy requirement. It also reduces the chemical cleaning product costs. As ozone breaks down to oxygen, it has little environmental impact – it is really a very natural sanitiser. A green and sustainable solution!
Evoqua has facilities in the UK and throughout Europe, so the ozone generator, service, parts, and support are readily available.
Featured in UK Vineyard Magazine, June 2021.