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Sonoma County’s California Soda Company selected for WINnovation Awards for water-saving sanitation process

Editor’s note: Wine Industry Network recognizes notable beverage alcohol-related companies for WINnovation Awards during the Business Journal’s annual Wine, Spirits + Beer Industry Awards.

California Soda Company’s patent pending fine mister system allows for the application of chlorine dioxide to sanitize stainless-steel tanks using a fine mist spray head, resulting in approximately 98% savings in the water needed for sanitation.

By utilizing this system, a winery can conserve not only the water used in the sanitizing process, but also the wastewater discharged. This results in savings and less time to complete the tank sanitation — all the while achieving equal or better cleaning results.

After first having the idea for the mister application system, California Soda Company CEO Ron Hinck spent two years refining the technology, working with industry partners and testing it at several wineries, including Simi Winery in Healdsburg.

“With the more frequent threat of drought and ever-present increase in environmental issues around winery wastewater discharges, we believe this process is pertinent to the survival of winery production in California,” says Hinck.

Studies show that the fine mist lingers in the tank long enough to ensure the contact time kills all bacteria but does not contaminate the air around the tanks, remaining safe for cellar workers to breathe, and with results below Cal/OSHA requirements.

“It’s much safer than a rinse,” says Marcus Riedl, Cellar Master at Simi Winery. “A rinse needs a higher chemical concentration, and since it exits the tank immediately after hitting the tank walls, you need to repeat it several times to sanitize the tank. With the mister, I use a much lower 25 parts per million (ppm) of CIO2 because the mist lingers inside the tank. It’s quite an awesome piece of technology.”

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