Project Info

Project Title 
Project Number 
Commercial, Agricultural
Project Year(s) 
2005 - N/A

The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the tartrate stabilization process for wine industry using electrodialysis. This technology requires less than 20 percent of the electrical energy used in the conventional cold stabilization process. Adoption of this process will enable the California wine industry to improve wine marketability and quality while reducing bottle price.

Tartrates of potassium and calcium occur naturally in grapes at near-saturation levels. These salts precipitate in wine during storage and reduce the market appeal of wines. Tartrate stabilization is commonly used in the wine industry to reduce the concentration of these salts to safer levels to prevent precipitation. Cold storage is the method used predominately in the United States for this purpose. The total electrical energy consumption for cold stabilization is estimated at about 70kWh per thousand gallons of wine.

Electrodialysis is an electrically driven membrane process that separates ionized solutions from aqueous solutions. It is widely used for desalination of seawater, demineralization of whey and many other applications. Recent advances in membrane development have enabled application of this technology for tartrate to stabilization of wines. Electrodialysis uses about 12 kWh per thousand gallons of wine, which makes it less energy intensive than cold stabilization. It may also produce better quality wines. Lacking proof that the new technology will not affect the permitting and color, taste or smell of its product, however, the wine industry in California has not installed this promising technology. This demonstration will possibly help overcome this barrier.

This project contributes to the PIER program objective of:
• Improving the cost/value for the industrial electric ratepayers in California by improving the marketability of the product while reducing the price.

Expected Outcomes:
• Demonstration of mobile electro-dialysis systems in three California wineries
• Report of the performance and electricity savings
• Installation of one stationary electro-dialysis system in California
• Acceptance by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (BATF) of this technology
• A technology transfer workshop

Project Status:
• Completed the kick-off meeting in Dec 20, 2002
• The mobile unit has been ordered.
• The first demonstration at a winery is expected to begin in February 03.