Treatment of winery wastewater was investigated using an anaerobic sequencing batch reactor (ASBR). Biogas production rate was monitored and permitted the automation of the bioreactor by a simple control system. The reactor was operated at an organic loading rate (ORL) around 8.6 gCOD/L.d with soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency greater than 98%, hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 2.2 d and a specific organic loading rate (SOLR) of 0.96 gCOD/gVSS.d. The kinetics of COD and VFA removal were investigated for winery wastewater and for simple compounds such as ethanol, which is a major component of winery effluent, and acetate, which is the main volatile fatty acid (VFA) produced. The comparison of the profiles obtained with the 3 substrates shows that, overall, the acidification of the organic matter and the methanisation of the VFA follow zero order reactions, in the operating conditions of our study. The effect on the gas production rate resulted in two level periods separated by a sharp break when the acidification stage was finished and only the breaking down of the VFA continued.

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