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May 3, 2005
Berkeley Lab’s BEST Winery Tool Helps Reduce Energy and
Water Costs
Three California wine-country workshops in May will introduce the tool to winery facilities managers

BERKELEY, CA – California wineries now have an easy-to-use, computer-based tool and a handbook to help them reduce energy and water costs, thanks to researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Fetzer Vineyards, with whom the lab worked to develop the tool.

California grapes yield about 500 million gallons of wine per year. California is home to more than 1,000 wineries which contribute some $33 billion to the state’s annual economy.

“BEST (Benchmarking and Energy and Water Savings Tool) Winery” compares the performance of a target winery to a similar reference winery. The reference winery is very efficient, using state-of-the-art commercially available energy and water control technologies.

After evaluating how the target winery compares to the reference winery, the user can view the tool’s inventory of available efficient practices and technologies to select those that will save money, energy and water. BEST Winery is available as an Excel spreadsheet that can be run on any PC operating Windows 2000 or higher.

The Public Interest Energy Research Program of the California Energy Commission supported development of the tool, which is geared toward small-to-medium-scale wineries. It is available for free to all California wineries.

Why produce a tool targeted to wineries? The wine-making business is a significant one in the state. “California has 1,100 wineries that produce more than 500 million gallons per year, contributing about $33 billion to the California economy,” says Christina Galitsky, one of the report’s authors and a researcher in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Berkeley Lab. In 2000, California produced 565 million gallons, representing almost 92 percent of all the wine produced in the United States.

“A lot of the electricity used in winemaking goes to refrigeration for cooling and cold storage,” Galitsky points out. “The rest is mainly compressed air, hot water or electricity for pumping and the bottling line motors. Cleaning barrels and equipment requires hot water, and so does heating red wine ferments and yeast generator tanks.” And, as with other commercial facilities, enclosed areas for storage and processing require lighting, and many such areas are electrically cooled.

Wineries are also water-intensive enterprises. Their major water use areas are in the fermentation tanks, barrel washing, barrel soaking, bottling line, cellars, and crush pad. Many wineries have begun to use treated wastewater to irrigate vineyards or for landscaping, or they may use it for frost and fire protection or dust abatement.

“Energy and water costs have increased rapidly for wineries located in California,” Galitsky says, “and this has made energy and water efficiency improvement an essential part of the business. Our experience is that more than any other industry, winemakers have started to implement sustainable practices in viniculture and in their wineries.”

In the benchmarking process, either the energy or water performance of an individual plant is compared to a plant that represents “standard” or “optimal” performance, or the energy or water performance of a number of plants are compared to each other.

Benchmarking in BEST Winery compares an individual winery to a similar hypothetical optimal winery using energy intensity (energy use per unit of output) as its unit of measurement. BEST Winery applies to a wide range of facilities and compensates for differences in production.

With the support of Pacific Gas & Electric, three free training sessions will take place in May for California wineries. PG&E will also provide information on its financial support programs for improving energy efficiency in the state’s wineries.

The three workshops will be held from 9:30 to 4:00 at the following California locations:

Tuesday, May 10:    Fetzer Winery 13601 Old River Road, Hopland,
Thursday, May 12:  Gloria Ferrer Winery 23555 Hwy 121 (Arnold Dr.), Sonoma,
Friday, May 13:       Villa Toscana Winery, 4230 Buena Vista Dr., Paso Robles.

All sessions run from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For exact locations and to register for the workshops, go to or email Space is limited.

The report is titled “BEST Winery Guidebook: Benchmarking and Energy and Water Savings Tool for the Wine Industry," by Christina Galitsky, Ernst Worrell and Anthony Radspieler of Berkeley Lab, and Patrick Healy and Susanne Zechiel of Fetzer Vineyards.

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