At the beginning of the last decade, Roeda’s winemaking centre had high water consumption levels considering its vinification capacity.
As a big large winemaking facility, Roeda’s centre has a vinification capacity of 5.000 to 6000 pipes of Port Wine, both of its own grapes or bought from local grape growers.
This Fladgate group center is the one with the greatest number of specificities. Not only was it built/refurbished over an existing one, but it is also in fact a set of 4 different wineries:
To pipe these 4 wine cellars, the mass pipes used to feed all the vinification areas were made of stainless steel AISI316 and 129 mm in diameter, in a total of 335 meters.
2012 to 2019
Reduce the water consumption of Roeda vinification center.
First measures aimed at reducing water consumption (2012 – 2013):
From 2012 to 2013, different measures were adopted to reduce water consumption. Good practices training and raising awareness on water saving among employees and temporary workers were amongst the most important ones.
Furthermore, a major water wastage point was identified in the filling and washing hosepipes. There was repeatedly an excess of water wasted either caused by forgetfulness or a laid-back posture. To attempt to solve this issue, taps/pressure guns were placed on all hosepipes and floor squeegees were purchased.
Two results were achieved, compared to previous years: a decrease in the average daily consumption of water (m3/day) and a better ratio of water consumed per liter of wine produced (L/L), though neither with satisfactory levels.
Chart 2 – Comparative Status – consumption during the harvest (2011-2012Vs 2013-2015)
Changes in the mass pipes diameter and the entire grape intake process (2016 to 2019):
In 2017, following the good experience of the Vargellas winery, the decision was taken to change all the mass pipes, in stages, in order to achieve greater water savings.
Considering 35 days per harvest, the streamlining of the mass pipes and the reduction of their diameter, led to a reduction of around 304 m3 in water consumption per harvest, as shown in table 1:
– A decrease in total water consumption in the harvest of around 15%, representing 550 m3 per harvest;
– A decrease in the average daily consumption of around 20%;
– A decrease in the ratio of water consumed per liter of wine produced of around 45%, from 1.5 liters of water per liter of wine produced to 0.8 liters.
The ratio of 1 liter of water to produce 1 liter of wine is considered a very high sustainability objective to be achieved. Yet, in the Roeda Centre, we are already and consistently below that value.
The reduction of grape must pipes section by 40%, in such long pipelines was challenging and caused some fear, especially when we used part of the grape stalks. To achieve this success it was also important to substitute the must pumps with new lobular pumps, which can handle gently the grape must but also handle more pressure in the pipeline.
There are hundreds of wineries spread all over Portugal that still use must pipes with 129 mm, because historically all the wine presses had this section, and all the wineries’ pipe engineering started from that section.
Easily medium-to-low crushing wineries can go to 80 mm sections – as we did in our smaller wineries like Vargellas – but the big lesson is that bigger wineries can diminish their water consumption as well as detergents drastically by reducing to 100 mm section pipes.
We are still looking for training staff, mainly temporary staff that still works in our wineries during harvest, with the main goal of good practices in water utilization in wineries.
One further objective we are looking at in the near future is to store and use rainwater captured by our winey roofs in some of our cleaning operations.
Any other wine producer or production methods that require this type of equipment.
Croft Porto (The Fladgate Partnership)
Port Wine, Douro region
22 Abril, 2020