Did you know that about 20 percent of what goes into winemaking comes out as winery waste? Grape skins, seeds and stems. According to a 2016 article, that amounts to close to 12 million tons each year worldwide! That’s a lot of gooey stuff. The technical term for the gooey stuff is pomace.
So what do wineries do with it? It turns out there are many uses. This was all new to me, so I was excited to learn about it. I hope you learn some things from this article too.
Thank you to How Stuff Works, WineMaker and NPR for their help with this article.
Making Other Types of Alcohol
Wine waste, or pomace, can also be used to enhance winemaking. The most famous example of this technique is Italian “Ripasso” wines where the sweet, raisined pomace from Amarone della Valpolicella is added to other red ferments of less noble varieties. These wines are richer and have more depth than they would have had on their own.
On the home winemaker front, some people make a second wine from the pomace by reconstituting it with water until you have a consistency that is similar to the original.
Last but not least, some folks use pomace for distillation, turning winery waste into booze. Grappa of Italy is made from white wine pumace.
Non-alcoholic Uses for Winery Waste
Pomace also traditionally has been recycled as fertilizer or animal feed.
Scientists are also increasingly looking at applications such as fuel alcohol production and biofuel energy production, and use in environmental cleanups.
Food scientists have also realized that pomace contains a lot of healthy stuff — antioxidants, fiber and chemicals that help moderate blood sugar and create a feeling of fullness, to name a few — that can be used to make other foods healthier. Pomace has been used as an ingredient in bread, cereal, pasta, cheese, ice cream and even has been added to meat and seafood.
If you take care of gardens, composting can be a great way to use winery waste.
The Tastiest Use of Winery Waste
One of the most promising commercial uses of pomace is also one of the tastiest. Turning it into a gluten-free flour substitute that can be made into brownies!
WholeVine has partnered with a local miller to produce the flour, which comes in 16 different varieties based on the different wine grapes — such as chardonnay, Riesling and merlot — used to make it. Its products are high in iron, fiber, protein and other nutrients. That’s all well and good, but in order for the flour to have commercial success, it has to taste good, too.