The Family Coppola – Energy and Cost Savings in Upgrading Wastewater Treatment Technology

For more than forty years, the Coppola family has searched for innovative ways to implement environmentally responsible practices into the vineyards and winemaking techniques to improve efficiency, minimize impacts and create a nurturing habitat for wildlife, on-site staff and visiting guests.

The Coppolas take this commitment to heart, evident at the winery as well as their personal projects. In 2015, as California was feeling the effects of the state’s most severe drought in decades, Mr. Coppola personally requested ideas from each staff member on how to save water at work and at home. Almost immediately, close to 200 suggestions were received, including ideas from his wife. The winery is currently implementing many of these creative suggestions, each of which has a significant impact on our winemaking philosophy and quality wines we produce.



Our primary objective was to improve the energy and cost savings through the upgrading of our Wastewater Treatment Technology. We started by requesting ideas from each staff and nowadays many of those creative suggestions have been implemented and have contributed to energy savings.

In the wastewater treatment, the solution adopted was a Fine Bubble Differ Aerated, a technology that has allowed us to drop the energy use by nearly 50% each month.



Reduction on energy use in wastewater treatment



Treatment of winemaking process water is paramount for its re-use as vineyard irrigation water in drought-stricken Northern California. While traditional, surface mounted wastewater aerators are an effective treatment method, they consume a significant amount of costly energy to operate. We explored several different waste water treatment technologies and selected fine bubble diffuser technology to replace our surface mount aerators. This project was a considerable investment, but we have seen a significant reduction of energy use to treat waste water, even during the intensive months of use during harvest.



Example of Inefficient Surface Mount Aerator

The project was completed in several different steps.


  1. First, the existing facultative wastewater ponds were drained, graded into two treatment pond basins and lined.
  2. Next, fine bubble diffuser equipment was laid out close to the bottom of the lined ponds and a blower was installed to supply these lines with air.
  3. A SCADA system was installed to maximize operational control of the ponds, as well as real-time pH and Dissolved Oxygen sensors. The ponds were filled with process water, and treatment began. Once water is in the ponds for the engineered detention time, it is tested to ensure compliance with California’s strict regulatory requirements.
  4. Then, it is discharged and reused in the surrounding vineyards as irrigation.


The installation of the Fine Bubble Differ Aerated Wastewater Treatment system has significantly decreased our wastewater treatment energy use and costs as seen in tables below:





  • Energy use drop by nearly 50% each month
  • Excellent wastewater treatment quality achieved
  • doubled the winery’s handling capacity during the peak crushing season.


Fine Bubble Diffuser Aerated Wastewater Treatment Technology Installed in Pond
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