No one ever said it takes a great boiler to make a great wine, but hot water is an important ingredient in the wine making process. “Wineries use an incredible amount of water and they use a lot of hot water for cleaning,” says Bill Zeeb, Commercial Dept. Manager at LeDuc & Dexter Inc., “Typically they need water at around 180 degrees at a pressure of 90 p.s.i.” Hot water is especially important for making white wine, where cleanliness and sterilization are essential to stop bacteria that can ruin a high-priced Chardonnay with the greatest of ease at any stage from the tank to the bottle. Hot water is used to clean barrels, tanks, pumps, filters, bottling lines and equipment and floors.
Boilers are essential to making hot water for a winery. Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards has 4 boilers. Two large boilers are used to produce industrial hot water, another boiler heats domestic water and a small-sized boiler is used for Hydronic heating. The sterilization process of the bottling line equipment prior to bottling requires industrial water at 170 degrees, “We use 190 degree water to sterilize before bottling, water at that temperature dries really fast,” explains Tom Toedter , Construction Manager at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards. The Hydronic boiler, which is a low-pressure boiler, heats the water, which is pumped through pipes in cement floors for radiant heating and through fan-coil units for space heating.
Hot water storage is another factor to consider when so much industrial hot water is used and needed on demand at a winery. Most wineries have tanks with 500 to 3,000 gallon capacities. Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards uses a 650-gallon hot water storage tank with a foam-insulated jacket to hold heated water circulated from the industrial boilers. Many of the smaller wineries use a 199-gallon hot water storage tank. “Tanks that are 200 gallons or more are much more expensive to operate because at that point they have to be ASME rated,” says Zeeb, “You see a lot of 199 gallon hot water storage tanks in wine country.”
LeDuc & Dexter’s commercial department determines a winery’s needs by, in most cases, interviewing the winemaker. Bottling needs, number of employees, and how many hose stations are to be used concurrently are all factors. From this information LeDuc & Dexter designs and installs a hot water supply system consisting of a boiler, hot water storage tank, circulating pumps, piping and related equipment for a complete system. LeDuc & Dexter also upsize many hot water systems to meet production increases with larger, more efficient boilers or the installation of an additional boiler for added capacity.