The environmental impact of oenological processes is primarily linked to waste effluents from cellars that may endanger the biological balance of rivers, particularly during the harvesting period. The organic elements produced by wine-making activities favour the development of micro-organisms that use up the oxygen dissolved in the water, to the detriment of the ichthyofauna. The effects of the concentration of production units and, paradoxically, the development of wastewater treatment plants in viticultural districts, often saturated at harvest-time, have highlighted the environmental risks of cellar activities.
The fight against pollution in wineries depends on two complementary approaches. Upstream, the production processes need to be adapted to reduce the waste load and ensure the optimal management of water. This approach can be summed up by the phrase “the easiest effluent to eliminate is the one that is never produced”. It is based on an optimisation not only of technological design, but also of organisation and training.
Downstream, the treatment of cellar effluents, carried out individually or collectively, can be considered with the use of various individual or collective systems: evaporation, spreading, aerobic or anaerobic biological treatment..