Melbury Vale Vineyard, planted in 2006, is located in the beautiful Dorset countryside near Shaftesbury. This small family-owned business, the passion of full-time chartered surveyor, winemaker and distiller, Clare Pestell, who built and opened this sustainable winery alongside the vineyard in 2013. Today it produces around 10,000 bottles a year of still and sparkling wine, liqueur, brandy and cider from its vineyard and sister vineyards in Dorset.
In a wine production facility, cleaning is extremely important. In fact, Clare claims that her business is often 10% wine making and 90% cleaning!
“Wine production is a low-risk food product in terms of hygiene protocols, but we are handling apples and grapes in large volumes, which produce a lot of sugar, alcohol and acidic juice, so we need to make sure that we minimise where these are found, other than in the wine itself. Sugar sticks to the walls and there is yeast in the air too, so we must ensure a thorough clean down programme at the end of each day”, she says.
The team at Melbury were using an assortment of cleaning tools for the regular daily clean down. Hillbrush’s site audit found that there could be improvements in the type of cleaning tools they were using in order to save on staff time and also to ensure that the job was done more quickly and efficiently.
Hillbrush identified several areas where improvements could be made that would help improve the cleaning regime and long term, save money for the winery. Using the best quality tools and most importantly, the right tool for the job, would make cleaning up as they went along much more efficient.
All tools are also blue in colour to clearly show which are used for cleaning in the winery.
Hillbrush recommended that Clare and team use large food safe shovels for emptying the grape press each day; a larger shovel means the job is done more quickly. Then the floors are brushed using Hillbrush stiff sweeping brooms and the whole production area, including outside where the fruit is delivered, jet washed and cleaned down with Hillbrush mops and squeegees. Jet washing with the squeegees is crucial for getting rid of all the sugar residues that build up in the wine production area.
“Having the right cleaning tools for the job is important and has helped make the daily clean down much easier. The cleaning tools that we use in the winery must withstand the battering that acid and sugar can create too, and we have been impressed with how sturdy the range of cleaning tools, especially the squeegee, are,” Clare explains.
“We are careful to look after our Hillbrush cleaning tools too with thorough cleaning afterwards and correct storage in order that they last. We’re a business focussed on sustainability, so we would rather look after things than throw them away. The fact that Hillbrush products are manufactured locally in Mere, Wiltshire rather than imported, is important to us too,” Clare explains.
Melbury Vineyard and Winery’s best-selling product is still dry rose and English fizz – perfect for summer drinking. As well as wine tours, the Vineyard has three glamping pods made from wine barrels, ideal for families or friends to stay as a group, sample wine, and sleep under the stars. For more information www.mvwinery.co.uk