Vineyard Uses Worms & Microbes to Treat Wastewater

Kelly MarshallAgribusiness, sustainability, technology, Water Management

Fetzer Vineyards is among the world's most sustainable wineries (PRNewsFoto/Fetzer Vineyards) Fetzer Vineyards has already made a name for themselves as a leader in regenerative wine growing, earning a B Corporation Certificate for social and environmental responsibility in business.  Now they’re going a step further by revolutionizing the way U.S. wineries conserve water.

A revolutionary BioFiltro BIDA System is soon to be installed at the Medocino winery, marking them as the first American winery to use the closed-loop biological wastewater treatment system for 100 percent of their wastewater.  The system is powered by billions of earthworms, working together with beneficial microbes to remove 99 percent of contaminates in as little as four hours.  The process also uses significantly less electricity, saving up to 85 percent of the energy used in a technology like aeration ponds that requires pumps to circulate water.  The BIDA System can work year-round and creates compost from the worm digestion that may be returned to the soil.

“It’s essential that we constantly ask ourselves if there is a better, more efficient and more regenerative way to approach our business, including the way we work with water,” said Giancarlo Bianchetti, CEO of Fetzer Vineyards. “BioFiltro offers a compelling process that aligns with our business goals as well as our overarching objective to leave the world a better place than we found it.”

Research has shown that customers are interested in a company’s commitment to the environment– especially Millennials.  To help share their message of sustainability Fetzer Vineyards has created a new webpage to let consumers know about their water policy.  The page includes an easy-to-follow infographic about the process.

“Innovating to naturally manage our water footprint is an important step in our journey to become Water Positive, essential to our goal of Net Positive operations by 2030,” said Josh Prigge, Director of Regenerative Development for Fetzer Vineyards. “With this new system we’ll treat some 15 million gallons of water a year, with significant efficiency gains—and bring things full-circle with enhanced compost for our soils and clean water for vineyard and landscape irrigation. It’s a win-win.”