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UC Davis pioneers water saving for wine industry

By Pat Bailey on December 9, 2015 in Environment

UC Davis scientists are showing winemakers how they can use less water and energy and run sustainable operations  -- aiming to reduce water use from more than 6 gallons per gallon of wine down to just 1 gallon of water per gallon of wine.

A two-year study of wineries in the Napa and Lodi regions, led by Maya Buelow of UC Davis, found that wastewater from washing and cleaning in wineries can be used to irrigate vineyards. Cleaning agents add salts to wastewater that are not removed by treatment, but the study found that levels of salts at the wineries were usually below thresholds to pose a hazard for most wine grape rootstocks and soils. Similar approaches could be used in other agricultural operations, such as dairy, pork, poultry and food processing.

In related efforts, the Department of Viticulture and Enology is developing new precision vineyard irrigation networks, drought-tolerant wine grape rootstocks, and efficient systems for reclaiming and reusing winery wash water.

UC Davis winery goes LEED platinum

On the UC Davis campus, the Teaching and Research Winery is the first winery in the world to receive LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The adjacent Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building is designed to enable UC Davis’ winery, brewery and food-processing facility to operate in a self-sustainable manner through onsite capture of energy and water. The 8,500 square-foot building will eventually house equipment and systems for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from wine fermentation, and for filtering and recirculating water for wine, beer and food processing. It is expected to be the first building at any university to be certified Net Zero Energy under the Living Building Challenge and only the second such building in California. 

Media contact(s)

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu

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