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.

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