Category Archive: Winery Steam Sanitation

Why Should You Steam Clean Wine Barrels?

Wine BarrelsCleaning and maintaining wine barrels is an essential part of the wine production process, as it helps preserve quality and enhances taste in wine products. The chemical compounds wineries often use to clean and maintain wine barrels can be harmful to wine processing workers and hazardous to the environment.

One safe and efficient method you can use to sanitize wine barrels is steam cleaning. This increasingly popular technique offers a safe cleaning alternative while allowing facilities to meet strict sanitation requirements enforced throughout the industry.

Effectively Eliminate Contaminants to Preserve Flavor

Steam cleaning uses high temperatures to sanitize wine barrels in lieu of chemical treatment. Temperatures within the barrel reach approximately 212 F to mitigate the growth of fungi, bacteria, and other potential contaminants.

This process can eliminate various types of pathogens that could compromise the fermentation and ripening process, such as:

  • Pediococcus
  • Brettanomyces
  • Acetobacter
  • Lactobacilli

Additionally, barrel steamer equipment can remove tartrate that can stick to barrel walls.

Steam cleaning wine barrels preserves the fragrance in wine and facilitates ripening and fermentation, both of which elevate the overall quality of the end product.

Extend the Lifespan of Wine Barrels

A barrique typically lasts for three years, but steam cleaning can extend this lifespan even further. Steam penetrates the porous wood to remove old wine residue, yeasts, and pathogens. The barrel walls can then naturally micro-oxygenate wine during refinement, optimizing the polymerization of anthocyanins and tannins in the wine.

Save Water

Steam cleaning also makes wine processing more sustainable. While conventional cleaning methods tend to use a lot of water during the cleaning process, steam cleaning uses a much smaller amount, cleaning the wine barrels within minutes.

Contact Us for Steam Generators for Cleaning Wine Barrels

If you want to safely clean and maintain your wine barrels or tanks, Electro-Steam offers some of the best steam generators available. Our steam generators produce dry saturated steam devoid of boiler additives, allowing for highly efficient and effective cleaning that doesn’t require the use of chemical solvents. Our equipment also prevents trace materials from negatively affecting the taste and fragrance of wine products.

Several key features set Electro-Steam generators apart from other generators on the market, including:

  • Stainless steel materials for use in electric panels and cabinets
  • Capability to produce units within two to three weeks
  • A five-year warranty on steam generator chambers and a one-year warranty on other components
  • Top-quality construction using the best available parts
  • 98% efficiency without the need to pre-heat water

We’ll help you locate the ideal steam generator for your facility. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable staff will guide you through the selection process and direct you toward a solution that maximizes cleanliness and efficiency. We can develop steam generators for wine barrel cleaning and other food sanitation systems.

Contact us today to learn more about our products or with any questions, and we’ll connect you with one of our experts. You can also request a free demo of our steam cleaners for food and beverage processing applications.

Steam vs. Ozone Cleaning for Winemaking

Wine Cellar Barrels Stainless Steel

Steam and ozone are common winery sanitization methods that winemakers use to keep cellars and equipment clean. Learn what to look for in an effective sanitation system, the unique features of steam vs. ozone cleaning, and why one might be better than the other.

What to Look for in Winery Sanitation

Wineries and their cellars are often vulnerable to harmful bacteria that can spoil or otherwise negatively affect wine products, which is why these facilities require proper sanitation. Effective sanitation is continuous and covers all processes and equipment, preventing spoilage organisms from spreading throughout the facility and contaminating future wine batches.

The right cleaning method will account for these organisms’ location of origin and travel paths, such as the barrel and the bottling line. Generally, the following elements are what you should seek in a winemaking sanitization system:

  • The ability to effectively eliminate many types of spoilage organisms and microbes
  • Ease of use to thoroughly sanitize various environments, systems, and processes
  • Eco-friendliness
  • Safe operation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Zero negative impact on products, workers, and facilities

Using Ozone in Winemaking

The main benefit and potential disadvantage of ozone is its lack of persistence since it is both unstable and reactive. Unlike other cleaning elements, any ozone not immediately consumed by organic oxidation will simply turn to oxygen. As a result, ozonated water doesn’t need a specialized disposal method, won’t contaminate ponds, and won’t kill beneficial organisms in biomass or septic systems.

While ozone barrel cleaning can be an effective sanitation process, ozone comes with certain disadvantages that may make it unsuitable for winemaking facilities. One downside of using ozone for winery cleaning is its potential safety hazard. Workers who come into contact with isolated ozone may experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and respiratory problems. Another disadvantage of using ozone for wineries is its brief half-life, as ozone quickly outgases from its water solution while in the wine barrel.

Why Steam Is Superior for Winemaking

If you want a reliable and safe method for cleaning barrels and other winery equipment, steam is one of the best solutions available. Steam efficiently eliminates the majority of harmful microorganisms by using high temperatures.

Specifically, winery steam cleaner systems use temperatures exceeding 212 °F (100 °C) for five to 10 minutes to deactivate all yeast, bacteria, and fungi in tanks, barrels, and bottling lines. Using dry steam, you can also get rid of spoilage microorganisms highly resistant to SO2, low pH, and high alcohol.

Steam sterilization reaches even the tightest spaces in wine barrels and lines, including narrow openings such as nozzles that would be difficult to reach with ozone cleaning and other methods. Dry steam is particularly beneficial for wood barrels because of its ability to penetrate up to ½” into the wood’s porous surface and kill hidden microorganisms.

Another benefit of dry steam is that it only requires half a gallon of water to clean each barrel, which translates to reduced filling times and reduced expenses. Ultimately, the dry steam cleaning technique offers the most efficient and dependable way to sanitize winemaking equipment, with the added ability to rehydrate wood barrels for wineries, distilleries, and breweries.

Contact Electro-Steam for Steam Generators

If you’re looking for a high-quality winery steam cleaner for your winery, distillery, or brewery, we’ll provide you with the right solution to meet your unique needs. Since 1952, Electro-Steam has grown into a leading provider of safe and reliable industrial steam generators and food safety sanitation systems.

Want to learn more about how barrel steam sterilizers can benefit your winemaking facility or processes? You can contact us today to speak with one of our experts and find the ideal cleaner for your application.

Why Winemakers Have Adopted Steam Sterilization

Winemakers must sanitize winemaking equipment properly to maintain the wine’s quality. Traditionally, winemakers relied on chlorinated materials, trisodium phosphate (TSP), and soda ash solutions to sterilize barrels and tanks. However, contemporary winemaking has shifted towards safer, more effective methods, such as winery steam. It offers a sustainable and highly effective alternative, addressing critical concerns and setting exceptional sanitation standards.

Learn more about why winemakers are adopting steam sterilization over other methods.

Elimination of Chlorinated Water for Sanitization

Wooden barrels and large aluminum barrels wine factoryTraditionally, winery sanitation followed a simple path—using TSP, chlorinated solutions, or soda ash solutions to clean barrels and tanks, then washing it down with chlorinated water. However, winemakers discovered that trichloroanisole developed in the wine when specific bacteria fed on chlorinated water, resulting in contaminated ‘corked’ wine. This contamination could originate from corks but also sources in drains, barrels, tanks, and even wood and cardboard materials in cellars.

In response to this revelation, chlorine-based cleaning products were phased out. Companies pivoted towards ozone treatment and dry steam sterilization, alternatives to upholding stringent hygiene standards.

Why Steam Is Better for Winemaking

Steam cleaning has emerged as an advanced and eco-conscious technique in sanitizing wine bottles and equipment, offering numerous benefits compared to traditional cleaning methods. For example, steam can reach all areas of the barrel, including tight spots like the gaps between copper pipes and intricate crevices in stainless steel tanks. Additionally, due to their high temperatures and pressurized nature, wine barrel steamers are effective at killing hidden microorganisms and bacteria, ensuring a sanitary environment for fermenting and aging wine.

By adopting this innovative approach, wineries improve aromas and flavors, reaping the benefits of  steam cleaning and improving the winemakers’ quality, sustainability, and reputation.

Steam vs. Ozone Treatment

Wineries prefer using dry steam over ozone for cleaning because it saves water and is better for the environment. Ozone cleaning involves converting ozone gas to liquid, which requires high water consumption. The ozone is also toxic in high concentrations, so workers require additional protection from exposure.

Dry steam, created at high temperatures without extra moisture, efficiently cleans wine barrels, tanks, and equipment without toxic chemicals. Steam sterilization helps wineries address both water conservation concerns and health and safety concerns.

Steam vs. Conventional Cleaning Agents

Using dry steam for cleaning minimizes the environmental impact of sanitization. Compared to traditional methods, steam cleaning uses very little water, avoids introducing chemicals into production, and produces wastewater that is not toxic. These benefits make steam sterilization an appealing choice for companies aiming to showcase their commitment to sustainability.

Unlike conventional cleaning agents that need time to work on surfaces, wine barrel steamers are much quicker, resulting in significantly less downtime and more efficient use of labor. Steam sterilization also helps wineries eliminate the risk of chemical residues affecting wine flavors.

Learn More About Our Steam Generators for Winemaking

Cleaning wine equipment is crucial in the winemaking and bottling process, and has direct impacts on the wine’s quality and consumer safety. Thorough cleaning ensures the removal of potential contaminants from previous batches, preserving the wine’s purity and complex flavors.

Steam sterilization is the best way to effectively clean wine equipment. It is safer, more efficient, and more effective than conventional cleaning agents and ozone treatments. Electro-Steam is a leading provider of steam generators, with a variety of models and accessories to meet your winery’s needs. When you get your steam generators from us, you can expect:

  • Standard 5-year warranty on chambers and 1-year warranty on all other components
  • Standard stainless steel cabinet and electrical panel
  • 98% efficiency without feedwater preheating
  • 2-4 week production
  • ASME, CRN, UL, cUL or CE compliance

Contact us to learn more about our winery steam cleaning solutions.