A member of the Judd's Hill cellar team prepares the Destainex solution for tank cleaning.


Judd’s Hill Cuts Tank Cleaning Water Use by 66 Percent

It’s hard to imagine getting fired up about tank and bottling line cleaning. But Eric Lyman, winemaker for Judd’s Hill, is genuinely excited about a new biodegradable cleaning product developed specifically for the wine industry: Destainex LF. The product, produced by Scott Labs, saves time, water and energy, improves safety and leads to less wear and tear on equipment.

Judd’s Hill is one of the first wineries in Napa Valley to use Destainex LF and they haven’t seen any downside. Many wineries have standard operating procedures for cleaning making change to established practices difficult. Nichola Hall with Scott Labs says, “The people that use [Destainex] love it. The challenge is getting folks to switch over.” Napa Green staff met with Eric and his crew to see why they’re such big proponents of this product.

Eric notes the product saves time: “We’ve eliminated two major cleaning steps: citric and rinse. Our team is saving a ton of time because of this. We also have one less solution to prepare.” With Destainex there is just one single-pass rinse for the tanks.

We were using 40-50 gallons per rinse, times three rounds. Now we’re down to just 40-50 gallons total. We’re saving water and energy.

Tanks require 15 minutes of contact with the product and there can be tank-to-tank reuse if temperature and pH are maintained. “We use pH strips as a simple check for neutralization. It doesn’t have to be an expensive piece of equipment,” says Eric. To clean the bottling line, they run it for 15 minutes, stop, let it the product sit, and run the line for another 10 minutes.

Additionally, Eric has found costs to be comparable due to time savings. He also notes, “There’s less wear and tear on equipment, using pumps, etc., which means less maintenance.” The product is also safer for his team, eliminating risk of citric burns.

Eric says, “We conserve as much as we can.” For Judd’s Hill, the benefits of Destainex make sense.

I've been at this for 30 years and this is the best, most well-thought-out program I've ever seen.

- Yvon Chouinard, Environmentalist and Founder of Patagonia