The Stellar Organic Winery is turning to the most state-of-the-art decanter technology for its waste water treatment
Wine from organic cultivation is starting to play an increasingly important role in the wine world. Whether in Spain, Austria, France, Italy, South Africa, South America or Australia, all over the world winemakers are discovering just how good and successful organic wine can be. As are the sommeliers and wine enthusiasts. To be able to keep up with the large demand, the South African organic wine cellars of the Stellar Organic Winery recently purchased a second production facility near Vredendal from KWV (Kooperatiewe Wijnbouwers Vereeniging), the largest cooperative winegrowers association in the world. The Stellar Organic Winery is in the process of upgrading this facility, among other things with a new waste water treatment system. In this regard, a UCD 205 decanter was installed.
South Africa has a very long tradition of wine-growing. In 2009, South Africa celebrated 350 years of wine production in its moderately maritime climate. A year earlier, the wine exports of South Africa had achieved a record level of 400 million litres. Almost 4000 harvesters with over 350,000 workers in the vineyards on some 100,000 hectares supply over 500 private wineries and cellars as well as more than 50 cooperative wine-growing associations and over 20 producing wholesalers with a further 3500 employees in the wine cellars. While organic wine is still a niche market, it is a lucrative and prosperous one. The Stellar Organic Winery distinguishes itself from the rest with its very interesting business model. The winery can be found in the private ownership of the Rossouw brothers, with the Stellar employees holding 26 percent of the shares in the cellars and 50 percent of Stellar Agri, which cultivates the grapes on its own soil. The Stellar Winery is located in Trawal, 275 kilometres north of Cape Town.
Alongside coffee, bananas and chocolate, “fair trade” has now reached the wine sector as well and the fair trade wines from South Africa are benefiting from this in particular. In 2003, the Stellar Organic Winery was the first production of its kind to be allowed to label its wines with the fair trade certification mark and it has done so ever since. With fair trade, the wineries and wine cooperatives receive fixed, cost-covering prices. In addition, the Stellar Winery is the first cellar in South Africa which commercially produces wines without the addition of sulphur and is currently the number one organic wine brand in the United Kingdom.
Fair trade wines from South Africa have been available on the German market since 2005. And with ever greater success. In 2009, 688,000 litres of fair trade wine were consumed, of that some 90 percent was South African. In Germany, the family-run company “tegut...” with over 300 markets supports the Stellar Organic Winery with its fair trade project. 25 cents from every sold bottle of the red or white organic wine “African Star” go directly to the worker families. The grapes are picked from wine-growing estates on the northern border of the Olifants River wine region and in Namaqualand. Red, white and rosé wines from the most popular grape varieties arze produced here, among them Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Muscatel, Merlot, Pinotage, Shiraz and Colombard.
“In our primary production in Trawal, which we purchased in 2001, we still work with a settling basin to separate the solids from the waste water of our system. The water is oxygenated and subjected to treatment using micro-organisms before being used to water the vineyards. The earlier we separate the solids from the water, the higher the oxygen content of the water and the less complicated processing will be. Noticing the advances made in technology and sticking to our strategy of always looking for ways to improve our methods, we looked around the market for a reliable waste water decanter,” explains Willem Rossouw, Chief Executive Officer and coowner of the Stellar Winery. And decided in favour of GEA Westfalia Separator Group. “Although we have never before used a decanter from GEA Westfalia Separator Group, we placed our trust in the industry-wide reputation of the company as one of the best suppliers of decanters for our needs,” says Rossouw.
The UCD 205 decanter from GEA Westfalia Separator Group is a continuously operating centrifuge with horizontally positioned solid-wall bowl. The frame is open with free discharge of the clarified phase. It is used to dewater industrial and municipal waste water sludge. The relatively small decanter is easy to install, just as easy to operate and maintain, and is simple to upgrade due to its minimal space requirements.
The decanter was installed and put into operation in the Stellar Winery near Vredendal in the spring of 2011. It will continuously produce 3000 litres of water / hour. At the moment, the Stellar Winery processes around 10,000 tonnes of grapes annually. With the second production facility, production is set to increase to 24,000 tonnes.