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Kendall-Jackson to drastically cut water usage

Jackson Family Wines will implement a system to reduce water usage by 70 percent and hopes to help other California wineries adopt the process.

The majority of water used in wineries goes toward rinsing barrels, tanks, and equipment. Kendall-Jackson

Jackson Family Wines, known for its Kendall-Jackson label, has developed a process to reduce winery water usage by 70 percent.

The majority of water consumed in wineries typically goes toward rinsing wine barrels, tanks, and equipment.

A new system developed by Jackson Family Wines recycles and filters the hot water used for rinsing, losing only about 10 percent of that water in the process, the company said Tuesday. The system also retains 75 percent of the water's heat. As a result, the process also saves energy.

The company developed and tested the process in conjunction with the University of California at Davis, winery waste-water specialist Heritage Systems, and civil engineering firm Riechers Spence and Associates.

After a year-long pilot program, Jackson Family Wines has decided to implement the process in its Kendall-Jackson winery in Sonoma County, California. The process is expected to save the winery up to 6 million gallons of water, 133,000 kWh of electricity, and 73,000 therms of natural gas each year, according to company estimates.

"This is the first time that the wine industry has seen a water filtration system that is so efficient and cost effective. We expect this to have a major beneficial impact on water and energy use not only in the wine industry, but in many industries throughout the state," Jess Jackson, founder and proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, said in a statement.

If 35 percent of California wineries adopt the process, it will save the state 1 billion gallons of water annually, according to Jackson Family Wines, which is seeking grant money to help other wineries implement the system.