Parlier, CA, September 17, 2020 – This month, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, the seventh largest winery in the US, unveiled BioFiltro’s largest worm powered winery wastewater system in the world, capable of filtering more than one million gallons of wastewater per day. A key component of the winery’s ongoing commitment to sustainability practices, BioFiltro’s patented Biodynamic Aerobic (BIDA®) System enables O’Neill to harness the digestive power of California red wrigglers to recycle up to 80 million gallons of water a year, equivalent to 2.7 million bathtubs or 640 million water bottles. O’Neill’s worms will convert the nutrients from the wastewater into worm castings, a soil amendment sought after by growers for its microbial activity, nutrient levels, and ability to improve soil health.
O’Neill Vintners & Distillers spent the last nine months building and implementing BioFiltro’s system. The new system takes up five acres at the winery’s Parlier, California facility, near Fresno and consists of 12 basins, or worm beds, each larger than an Olympic sized swimming pool. Each bed is filled with drainage cells, crushed rock, geotextiles, and topped off with a layer of wood chips and shavings. During start up, the beds were seeded with microbes and 22,000,000 California red worms (Eisenia fetida) and which will reproduce and exceed 200 million in population.
An irrigation system sits atop the wood chips and distributes the wastewater evenly across the surface. As it percolates down through the system medias, the worms and microbes will remove 85% or more in biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids and 50% or more of total nitrogen. Within four hours treated water flows out of the beds and into collection sumps that then pump the treated water into the fields for irrigation.
“As a large scale winery in a region affected by significant environmental changes, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers has made sustainable and environmentally-conscious winemaking one of our core pillars and a major influence on our long-term strategic growth plans. We recognize the potential negative effects a changing environment has on not only our industry, but also our employees and their families. The BioFiltro system complements O’Neill’s ongoing effort to minimize waste, minimize its carbon footprint and protect the environment through our multifaceted sustainable winery programs. This project was a huge undertaking for a winery of our size and BioFiltro was more than ready to support our goals,” commented O’Neill Vintners & Distillers CEO, Jeff O’Neill.
In addition to the BioFiltro BIDA® system, O’Neill has 2,500 solar panels, spanning 52,200 sq ft. The panels provide 880,000 kWh of energy each year, enough to support the bottling line and air-conditioned warehouse. The winery also implements a water use recycling system that saves over five million gallons of water used to cool pump seals. O’Neill Vintners & Distillers is proud to maintain its certification with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program.
About O’Neill Vintners & Distillers
O’Neill Vintners & Distillers was founded in 2004 by industry veteran and entrepreneur Jeff O’Neill. The vertically integrated winery has grown to become the seventh-largest winery in California with a reputation for producing high-quality wines from the North Coast, Central Coast, and Central Valley. Through its extensive vineyards and modern production facilities, O’Neill provides premium winemaking services to the industry as well as its growing portfolio of national brands. The company’s national brands portfolio includes Line 39, Robert Hall, Harken, Exitus, Day Owl Rose, Austerity and Intercept. For more information, please visit www.ONeillWine.com.
BioFiltro is a global company with a patented wastewater system that embodies biomimicry. With over 180 installations in wineries, dairies, food processors, meat packers, aquaculture centers, and communities, BioFiltro’s worms recycle billions of gallons of water every year from the frozen tundra of Antarctica to the arid Atacama Desert. By enabling companies and communities to adopt regenerative processes and convert waste into clean water, healthy soil, and carbon credits, BioFiltro’s worms create a harmonious relationship between people, planet, and profit. www.biofiltro.com