Sustainable winery opens at Univ. of California, Davis

June 4, 2013

The University of California, Davis, has opened the $4 million Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building. The structure, when fully equipped, will enable the adjacent teaching and research winery, brewery, and food-processing facility to operate in a self-sustainable manner through onsite capture of energy and water. It was made possible by a $3 million pledge from the late Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke, proprietor of Jackson Family Wines.

The one-story, 8,500-sq-ft building will eventually house equipment and systems for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from wine fermentation, and for filtering and recirculating water for wine, beer, and food processing. It is expected to be the first building at any university to be certified Net Zero Energy under the Living Building Challenge and only the second such building in California.

The new building was constructed to include 10 dedicated, modular spaces that will accommodate equipment needed for a variety of processes including high-purity filtration of rainwater for use in cleaning fermentors and barrels in the winery. Ninety percent of the water and chemistry from each cleaning cycle will be captured, filtered through a semi-permeable membrane, and reused in the next cleaning cycle, eventually being used as many as 10 times.

The water filtration and recirculation system is expected to be installed next year, and a system for sequestering carbon dioxide captured from all fermentations in the winery will follow. The carbon dioxide collected from the fermentations will be converted into calcium carbonate, or chalk, once the sequestration system is completed. The new building also will be equipped to produce chilled water, using a solar-powered icemaker, and generate hydrogen gas by electrolysis, fueling a hydrogen fuel cell for nighttime energy use. 

One room in the new building will house the control system and data hub for the many processing systems, and two areas will be held for future research projects and equipment trials related to any aspect of water and energy use or sustainable systems.

“This is intended to be a building that encourages the adoption of evolving technologies in the areas of energy, water, carbon, and byproduct streams, while at the same time operating the winery in a self-sustainable manner,” said Professor Roger Boulton, a winery-engineering expert and the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology at UC Davis.

Press release