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Fetzer Vineyards

Regenerating Winery Wastewater With The Help Of Worms And Microbes

In 2016, American winery Fetzer Vineyards partnered with Chile-based BioFiltro to install their patented BIDA System to treat 100% of the winery’s wastewater. The system uses microbes and red worms to naturally remove up to 99% of contaminants from wastewater in four hours.

Powered by gravity, wastewater travels down through wood shavings and river cobble inside a drainage basin, where millions of worms work with microbes to break down and digest pollutants.

Clean water from this regenerative system will be used for irrigation in Fetzer’s organic vineyards. Worm castings mixed with compost will enhance soil for the vineyards. The system works efficiently year-round despite seasonal fluctuations in wastewater flows, according to Fetzer.

Fetzer Vineyards is the first winery in the United States to process 100% of its wastewater with such a system, the winery says. The chemical-free system uses 85% less electricity than the winery’s previous wastewater system to treat the same amount of water — roughly 17 million gallons annually.