Santa Rosa’s Tom Beard Company wins North Bay Maker Award
Well established as a premier designer and manufacturer of water-saving systems, the Tom Beard Company has introduced a new washing system upgrade that saves half of the water normally expended when cleaning a barrel by capturing and recycling the final rinse water.
“Innovation and water conservation is what launched our founder’s parent company in 1983,” according to Ed Barr, president of P&L Specialties, a Tom Beard Company. Our focus on sustainability continues to be the driving force behind water saving enhancements developed for our customers through our existing and new product lines, as well as for winery equipment refurbished and sold through our Revolution Equipment sales division.”
The company produces two-barrel and four-barrel washing systems. Using new computer technology, these units lift, rotate and re-position barrels automatically – without having to adjust heavy oak barrels by hand that weigh an average of 120 to 173 lbs. for a 60-gallon capacity wine barrel. Special electronic sensors align and position the bung opening precisely over a washing wand.
The initial wash cycle removes a majority of wine fermentation residue by inserting a high-pressure wand through the bung. The wand rises and falls to spray the entire interior with hot water that open pores in the wood for deep cleaning.
First rinse waste water is often saved for further processing and sold to extract elements with commercial value.
The final rinse uses cold water to close wood pores. Using a system of pumps, controls and filters, the final rinse solution can be transfered to a 300-gallon holding tank and recycled to become the initial rinse for another barrel.
“Final rinse water is filtered and very clear. Since the first wash cycle typically cleans more than 95% of deposits, reusing the final rinse is an ideal way to conserve water,” said Jesus “Chuy” Mendoza, general manager of the Tom Beard Company.
The significance of this new water-saving upgrade can be appreciated with a little math. An average winery has about 5,000 barrels that are cleaned twice a year. Each complete, two-part wash cycle uses 15 gallons of water per barrel or 60 gallons of water to clean four barrels. So if half of the water is being recycled (7.5 gallons times 10,000 barrels) some 75,000 gallons of water could be saved each year by a single winery.
“Multiply these savings by the number of wineries that could use this innovative water recapturing system and this simple solution can conserve many millions of gallons of water annually in the North Bay alone,” Mendoza added.
Tom Beard is also developing a new washing device (called a Bin Blaster) to use inside half-ton macro bins that requires only 2.5 gallons of water per blast. The company also produces a washing machine for totes, or lugs (the yellow boxes that hold 35 lbs. of grapes).
“The plastic ½ ton wine bins are not just for grapes anymore, but are widely used for apples, spinach, lettuce and other crops,” he said. “Fruit bins are more challenging because baked-on juice can be harder to remove, hence the need for a water-efficient, high velocity cleaning system.”
Innovation has also resulted in new sanitizing techniques, such as ultra-violet light and ozone, now being used in large wine storage tanks to kill mold and bacteria. A UV solution developed by BlueMorph UV was first introduced last September and saw its first deployment with Jackson Family Wines. The Tom Beard Company manufactured these UV systems for BlueMorph UV.