The quality of wine, which is a key selling point of the beverage, heavily relies on the effective management of natural yeast and containment of cross-contamination between wine batches. A small issue in the process can render an off-flavor that spoils the wine. While the standard practice for sanitizing winery equipment has previously involved the use of chlorinated cleaners, the method has significantly changed in favor of the use of ozone due to the drawbacks such the formation of toxic chlorinated compounds.
Ozone is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use in food processing. Against that backdrop, ozonated water use is popular as a safer, more economical and extremely effective method for barrel sanitation and cleaning, tank sanitation and cleaning, clean-in-place (CIP) systems, as well as for general surface cleaning and sanitation in wineries worldwide.
With such a quick cleaning and sanitization option, the process can be scheduled during production breaks, significantly reducing downtime while guaranteeing production optimization.
As a potent oxidant with fast acting properties, ozonated water is used for barrel washing in wineries. The use of ozone prevents organic buildup which normally undercut the durability of the barrels, and helps to enhance the longevity of these essential vessels.
Depending on the level of contamination of the barrel, a 2.5 ppm ozone concentration can be used for 2 minutes or 5 minutes on new or severely contaminated barrel respectively. The ozonated water treatment usually follows the flushing of these vessels with hot water.
Wineries can save considerable amounts of capital on the high cost of replacing contaminated wine barrels by embracing ozone washing and sanitation. Most ozone system installations by Integra Water Technologies create short break-even periods while yielding a high return on investment (ROI).
Stainless steel wine tanks may remain empty for several days or weeks following their initial sanitization. Today, most wineries rinse all their stainless-steel vessels with aqueous ozone right before filling them with wine to guarantee maximum sanitization.
Given its effectiveness and safety profile, ozone is a natural choice for wineries as far as the sanitation of process machines is concerned. CIP sanitization is the step in the winemaking process where the risk of contamination is at its highest. CIP involves cleaning and sanitizing piping, pump systems, tanks, filters, hoses, bottling lines and more. Treating and transferring the wine through these stages requires a high level of care to mitigate the risk of contamination. The use of ozonated water reduces the risk of contamination during this process. As a result, wineries can save time and labor costs, while improving worker safety by replacing chemical sanitization agents with aqueous ozone.
Wine making involves the use of complex systems and elaborate processes that create a lot of room for surface contamination. It is critical to routinely sanitize the broad range of surfaces and equipment to control cross contamination and unwanted microbes. Ozone has proven to be the most effective agent for sanitizing crushing and de-stemming machines, harvest bins, conveyors and even floors.
Ozonated water is sprayed on the various surfaces comprising of stainless-steel, concrete floors and walls, drains, and plastic containers in the processing facility with 2 ppm of dissolved ozone for disinfection.
One of the biggest advantages of using ozone in this process is its ability to readily oxidize microbes on these surfaces once they are spray-washed.
This process typically involves using hand-held spray guns and hoses that are located throughout the wine processing area to apply ozonated water to target surfaces.