La Rioja Alta winery has developed a robotic system, based on the use of hot water and steam, for optimal cleaning and disinfection of the barrels where wine is aged, a fundamental process in the manufacture of this product.
The robot now used in La Rioja Alta as standard equipment for cleaning and disinfecting all its barrels began life five years ago as an R&D project. The company has a large stock of barrels – more than 30,000-, that must be kept in the best and healthiest condition possible.
The company’s daily capacity to clean barrels has decreased with this new system, although this reduction is worthwhile because the level of disinfection is now higher. The robot is able to cleanse some 180 units per day.
The machine applies three 40-second hot water cycles and another three 60-second steam cycles to each of the barrels. It is then drained and is ready for use. Washing each barrel takes 8-10 minutes.