Innovative Sanitation: Why Wineries Choose Steam

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Updated on:

July 30, 2023

Steam Clean vs. Traditional Clean: Why Winemakers are Opting for Steam

In a captivating shift towards innovation and sustainability, wineries across the globe are embracing a transformative approach to barrel cleaning—steam. Departing from conventional cleaning methods, the wine industry is now turning to the power of pressurized steam to cleanse their prized oak barrels, heralding a new era of environmentally conscious practices.

This visionary transition not only preserves the integrity of the wine but also showcases the commitment of wineries to reduce their ecological footprint. As steam billows through the oak wine barrels, eliminating residue and impurities, these forward-thinking vineyards are proving that embracing cutting-edge technology can yield both exceptional wines and a greener future for generations to come.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wineries opt for steam cleaning to reduce ecological footprint and preserve wine integrity.
  • Dry steam preferred over ozone for water conservation and chemical-free cleaning benefits.
  • Winemakers all other the world embrace steam for innovation and terroir preservation.

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Wine Barrel Steam Cleaning

Why Steam Is a Better Clean for Wine Barrels

Steam cleaning has emerged as a superior and environmentally responsible method for sanitizing wine barrels, offering a plethora of compelling advantages over traditional cleaning techniques. One of its notable benefits lies in its versatility, as steam can effectively reach every nook and cranny of the barrel, including the hard-to-reach spaces between the copper pipes and the intricate crevices of stainless steel tanks.

Unlike harsh chemicals, steam leaves no trace of harmful residues behind, ensuring that the essence of the wine remains untainted, and avoiding any unwanted flavor interactions that may compromise the wine's integrity. Furthermore, steam's higher temperatures, pressurized nature serves as a natural disinfectant, annihilating any lurking microorganisms and bacteria, providing a thoroughly hygienic environment for wine fermentation and aging.

As wineries increasingly embrace this innovative approach, the distinctive aromas and flavors of the wines they produce stand testament to the profound impact of steam cleaning on the quality, sustainability, and reputation of their cherished vintages.

Dry steam vs Ozone treatment

More Wineries Prefer Dry Steam to Ozone for Sanitation and Water Conservation Benefits

Piper Underbrink was a cow-worker at his 4-600-acre cattle farm. She also learned music from her musical mother and the wine of her father, who has spent a long career as a wine collector. When she told him she was interested in an academic break, he suggested she start doing harvest internships for herself. She landed at Flowers Winery to find out what lab jobs are available. It firmly cements her convictions in a variety of wines and the position in California. In 2020, founders Mark and Tina Hammond sold the high-end Privé winery in Newberg, Oregon, and relocated in the next week before the Oregon wildfires. Fortunately, the family has never been hit by any major disaster.

Wineries increasingly favor dry steam over ozone for sanitation due to its numerous advantages, particularly in terms of water conservation and eco-friendliness. Dry steam, produced at high temperatures without excess moisture, offers an efficient and chemical-free method of sanitizing wine barrels, tanks, and equipment. In contrast, ozone sanitation requires water to convert ozone gas into a liquid form, leading to higher water consumption. With water scarcity becoming a global concern, wineries recognize the importance of minimizing their water usage. Dry steam allows them to achieve impeccable cleanliness without excessive water waste, making it an environmentally responsible choice.

Additionally, superheated steam eliminates the need for chemical cleaning agents, ensuring that no harmful residues are left behind that could taint the wines' delicate flavors. This aligns perfectly with wineries' commitment to producing wines that showcase their unique terroir and express the purest expression of the grape varietals. By opting for dry steam, wineries not only prioritize water conservation but also uphold their dedication to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship, setting a positive example for the entire industry.

The combination of effective sanitation, chemical-free cleaning, and water conservation benefits makes dry steam the preferred choice for forward-thinking wineries seeking to maintain the highest standards of quality while reducing their ecological footprint.

Dry steam vs Conventional Cleaning agents

Winemakers in the Growing New York Finger Lakes Region Embrace Steam for Cellar Sanitation

Amidst the picturesque landscape of the growing New York Finger Lakes region, winemakers have embarked on a remarkable journey towards innovation and sustainability by wholeheartedly embracing the power of steam for cellar sanitation. Driven by a shared vision to produce wines of unparalleled quality while minimizing their ecological impact, these forward-thinking vintners have recognized the transformative potential of steam cleaning. As the billowing steam gracefully weaves through the labyrinthine cellars, it diligently purges every surface, from oak barrels and stainless steel tanks to delicate fermentation vessels, leaving behind a pristine and sanitized environment.

By replacing conventional cleaning agents with the natural potency of pressurized steam, winemakers eliminate the risk of chemical residues that could compromise the nuanced flavors of their wines. This revolutionary shift in approach not only highlights the region's dedication to preserving its bountiful natural resources but also reflects a collective commitment to crafting exceptional wines that embody the very essence of the Finger Lakes' unique terroir.

wine barrels Steam cleaning process

Steam cleaning process explaned for wine barrels

Steam cleaning wine barrels is a meticulous process that ensures the utmost cleanliness and preservation of the wine's character. To commence, the first step involves selecting a high-quality steam cleaner equipped with adjustable pressure settings. Once the appropriate equipment is ready, the wine barrels should be emptied of any remaining wine and rinsed with water to remove loose debris.

Empty and Rinse the Barrels

  • Before steam cleaning, make sure to empty any remaining wine from the barrels and rinse them with water to remove loose debris and residues.

Position the Steam Cleaner

  • Place the steam cleaner near the barrels and connect it to a reliable power source. Get it ready for the cleaning process.

Preheat the Steam Cleaner

  • Preheat the steam cleaner to the recommended temperature for barrel cleaning, which is typically between 200°F to 212°F (93°C to 100°C).

Direct the Steam into the Barrels

  • Once the steam is ready, direct the nozzle into the barrel's openings, ensuring that the pressurized steam reaches all interior surfaces, including the copper pipes and stainless steel tanks.

Allow Steam Penetration

  • Let the steam penetrate the barrel for a sufficient duration, usually about 10 to 15 minutes per barrel. This ensures thorough elimination of any bacteria, mold, or impurities.

Drain and Air Dry

  • After the cleaning process, drain any remaining water or moisture from the barrel. Allow it to air dry completely before refilling it with the next vintage of wine.

This meticulous and eco-friendly steam cleaning technique guarantees wine producers can maintain the highest standards of hygiene and flavor authenticity in their barrels, producing exceptional wines that exemplify the harmonious fusion of innovation and tradition.

Filters sanitation with steam clean

Wine filtration is an essential procedure because it influences organochlepsis and colloidal and microbiological stability. Clean filters are therefore essential in making wine. Until this time there haven't been any standard methods, however many manufacturers offer an effective steam cleaning procedure that can last about 20 minutes.

Cleaning and sanitizing of wine steel tanks

Cleaning and sanitizing of wine steel tanks

Cleaning stainless steel tanks is difficult because they are small. Steam is ideally suited to combine a cleaning process within a single step. It will require a high-performance steam generator, modulating based on the tanks capacity.

Steam cleaning the bottling line system

Steam cleaning a bottling line at a winery requires a systematic and thorough approach to ensure the highest levels of cleanliness and hygiene. The process begins by preparing the steam cleaner with the appropriate settings, ensuring that the pressure and temperature are optimized for effective cleaning.

Preparing the Steam Cleaner and Equipment

Before commencing, it is essential to shut down and disconnect all electrical components of the bottling line to prevent any potential hazards. Starting at one end of the line, carefully direct the pressurized steam onto the surfaces of the equipment, including conveyor belts, filling machines, and bottle cappers. Pay special attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas where contaminants might accumulate.

Thoroughly Sanitizing the Bottling Line

The high-temperature steam not only eradicates bacteria and germs but also dissolves any residues, ensuring that the bottles and machinery are thoroughly sanitized. Work methodically along the entire length of the bottling line, taking care to cover all components and inspecting for any missed spots.

Proper Drying and Resuming Operations

Once the cleaning process of bottling lines is complete, allow the equipment to dry thoroughly before resuming operations. By steam cleaning the bottling line, wineries can maintain impeccable hygiene standards, safeguard the quality of their wines, and uphold their commitment to producing exceptional vintages for their discerning customers.

fortador pro industrial steam cleaner

Fortador Steamers Are Safety-Focused

Fortador steam cleaners have earned a reputation for their unwavering commitment to safety, making them a preferred choice for various industries. One of the key safety features is the incorporation of advanced pressure and temperature controls, ensuring that the steam is released at safe levels, preventing any potential accidents or injuries.

Moreover, Fortador steam cleaners are equipped with safety locks and mechanisms to prevent accidental operation, minimizing the risk of unauthorized use or mishaps.

Additionally, these steam cleaners often come with pressure relief valves, guaranteeing the controlled release of excess steam if the pressure inside the boiler becomes too high, thus preventing any hazardous situations. Fortador also focuses on ergonomic design, making their machines easy to handle and reducing the risk of strain or discomfort for the operators during prolonged use.

Furthermore, their emphasis on high-quality construction materials ensures that the machines are durable and reliable, reducing the chances of malfunctions that could pose safety risks.

Comparison of the Fortador Steamer with a Hot Water Pressure Washing for Barrel Sanitation

While both Fortador steam cleaners and hot water pressure washers serve the purpose of wine barrel sanitation, the steam cleaner undoubtedly stands as the superior choice, offering a myriad of advantages that far surpass those of its hot water counterpart.

Deep clean

First and foremost, the steam cleaner boasts unparalleled sanitation capabilities. With its high-temperature pressurized steam, it effortlessly penetrates every nook and cranny of the wine barrel, including the hard-to-reach spaces like exposed copper pipes, and stainless steel tanks. In contrast, hot water pressure washers may struggle to effectively clean the intricate parts, leaving behind potential pockets of bacteria and residue that could compromise the wine's purity.

No harsh cleaning chemicals

Moreover, the steam cleaner operates without the use of harsh chemicals, eliminating any risk of chemical residues seeping into the barrel and interfering with the wine's delicate flavors. On the other hand, hot water pressure washers often rely on chemical detergents, posing a constant concern about potential taints and contaminations in the wine.

Pressure wash isn't very safe

Safety is paramount, and the steam cleaner excels in this aspect as well. With advanced pressure and temperature controls, safety locks, and pressure relief valves, Fortador steam cleaners prioritize the well-being of operators, reducing the risk of accidents or mishaps during the cleaning process. Hot water pressure washers, though efficient, may lack the same level of safety features, leaving room for potential hazards.

Furthermore, Fortador steam cleaners are renowned for their eco-friendly approach. By utilizing steam, they significantly reduce water consumption compared to hot water pressure washers, ensuring a more sustainable and environmentally conscious method of wine barrel sanitation.

Its ability to preserve the essence of the barrel's internal temperature of the wine and maintain the highest standards of hygiene makes it the ideal choice for wineries seeking the best cleaning solution for their prized wine barrels.

exteriior steam cleaning of wine barrel


In conclusion, the wine industry's transition to steam cleaning for barrel sanitation represents a captivating shift towards innovation and sustainability. Embracing pressurized steam showcases wineries' commitment to reducing their ecological footprint while preserving the integrity of their prized wines. As billowing steam delicately purges impurities, these forward-thinking vineyards prove that embracing cutting-edge technology yields exceptional wines and fosters a greener future.

Additionally, the preference for dry steam over ozone treatment reflects wineries' dedication to water conservation and eco-friendliness, setting a positive example for the entire industry. With steam cleaning, winemakers harmoniously fuse innovation and tradition, ensuring impeccable hygiene standards and exceptional vintages for discerning customers.


Why is wine barrel cleaning so important?

Wine barrel cleaning is of paramount importance in the winemaking process, as it directly impacts the quality and safety of the wine produced. Ensuring that barrels are thoroughly cleaned helps eliminate chemical residues and potential contaminants from previous batches, safeguarding the wine's purity and preserving its authentic flavors.

Residues from cleaning agents could compromise the delicate aromas and taste profiles of the wine, adversely affecting its overall character. Moreover, proper barrel sanitation is crucial for food safety, as any lingering bacteria or mold could lead to spoilage, ruining the wine and rendering it undrinkable. By maintaining impeccable hygiene standards through regular and effective cleaning practices, winemakers can confidently present wines of exceptional quality, free from any undesirable off-flavors or risks to consumers' health

Why do you think steam provides a superior clean?

Steam cleaners are effective since pressure makes it an effective disinfectant and degreaser. It can easily kill bacteria and bacteria and dissolves oil and greasy residue, making it ideal for many different cleaning situations.

Does steam cleaning disinfect?

Steam cleaning water can be heated up much warmer than recommended washing machine temperatures and drying machines kill the mites in fabrics which often kill them. Steam Cleaning helps eradicate bacteria from bacterial sporas while acting like a naturally derived cleaning agent to disinfect the air.

What does steam do to dust?

The vapor removes dirt and kills spores and mould. It isn't advisable to suturing, causing high temperature moisture to rapidly dry out. Some manufacturers recommend sweeping up soiled surfaces first using steam before removing dirt using cloth.

About the Authors

Lev Tretyakov
With over 25 years in the industry, I bring extensive sales expertise in heavy equipment across diverse sectors. Pioneered the first CAD/CAM school in CIS countries. Proud owner of Miami's premier auto detailing hub, Totaal Steam Detailing, hailed as the finest in Miami-Dade by Google.
Sabrina Tretyakova
In the world of cleanliness and hygiene, Sabrina Tretyakova stands as a beacon of expertise and dedication. As an ISSA-certified cleaning technician, Sabrina brings a wealth of knowledge and three years of unwavering commitment to her profession. Having served a staggering 1,200 clients

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