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How Pigging Can Help Drought-Stricken Wineries Conserve Water

How Pigging Can Help Drought-Stricken Wineries Conserve Water
15/12/2017

More and More Wineries Deploying Product Recovery Systems With the festive season just around the corner, now may be a good time to stock up on wine while you can. This is because major wine producing countries, including South Africa and Italy are in the grips of a drought and water shortages, which are threatening to diminish wine production.

As such, it comes as no surprise that water conservation is high on the agenda for many wine producers and processors. That’s why many are deploying product recovery (“pigging”) systems into their operations to reduce their water usage and improve their overall efficiencies.

South Africa and Low Wine Yield One of the largest producers of wine in the world who is facing droughts and depletions in yield is South Africa. South Africa contributes 4% to global wine production and exports 440 million litres of wine per year. But water droughts in the country are drying up the vines, meaning that the harvest next year is expected to be historically small. Experts suggest that wine yield could drop as much as 25% to 50%.

This is due to the lack of rainfall during the past two winter periods which has left the vines across South Africa without the necessary water reserves through summer. In addition, because of the severity of the droughts, this has resulted in level 5 restrictions being implemented. This sees a variety of limits and things such as irrigation and washing of vehicles with public water forbidden.

Despite having an impact on the quantity produced, the two years of relentless droughts haven’t necessarily had an impact on the quality of the crop. In fact, wine producers in South Africa are still witnessing excellent quality wine being produced.

Other Wine Producing Countries Facing Droughts South Africa is not the only country that is facing volatile weather and droughts. For instance, Spain’s main wine growing area has been badly affected by severe droughts which have left vines more susceptible to damage.

Similarly, Australia has also historically been hit hard by severe weather conditions. In 1995 up until 2009 Australia experienced one of the worst droughts in more than a century which destroyed large parts of Australian wine country.

Because of the drought, reservoir levels declined rapidly, as did agricultural production and industrial water use. What’s more, major cities such as Melbourne and Sydney implemented water conservation programmes to reduce the demand on the country’s limited water resources. Their efforts included building desalination plants, in an attempt to somewhat drought-proof themselves and they also pursued a variety of water recycling projects.

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