Robert Mondavi Winery, located in Oakville in California’s famous Napa Valley, produces half a million cases of wine per year for distribution all over the world.
Effective water filtration is a key component of Mondavi’s wine production. The company hired NuWater USA to address its water concerns, which ranged from poor municipal water quality, scale clogging in the barrel room humidifier pipes and boilers, and chlorine in water used for barrel washing.
Water usually comes into contact with wine barrels at the end of each harvest season, when wineries clean their barrels to prepare for the next year’s crop. Sanitization is critically important given the porous nature of oak and its susceptibility to chemical retention. NuWater installed four 12-by-52-in. tanks filled with activated carbon at each barrel-washing station to remove and destroy residual disinfectants such as chlorine and chloramines from the winery’s water supply, rendering it safe for cleaning the barrels.
NuWater also supplied mineral-free water with a specific resistance of at least 18 megohms for Mondavi’s onsite laboratory, which is important for wine analysis and quality control.
In the fall of 2011, the humidifying misters in the barrel room were routinely clogging, requiring time-consuming, costly maintenance. NuWater discovered that an abundance of silica, calcium and magnesium in the water supply was causing scale buildup in the pipe. It installed a small silica removal system that has efficiently solved the problem. NuWater also added ultraviolet disinfection to the silica removal system, ensuring a clean, safe environment in the barrel room.
NuWater has since brought this spirit of innovation to other areas in the winery. Instead of serving bottled water to guests in the tasting room, Mondavi now offers filtered water from a countertop system that is specially designed to balance the pH of the inherently acidic wine. An added benefit is the elimination of plastic bottle waste.