How to Use Grape Pomace: A Guide to the Valorization of a Winemaking By-Product

The world of viticulture harbors sustainability and innovation secrets among its vineyards, one of which is the use of grape pomace. This often-overlooked by-product of winemaking reveals extraordinary potential for more conscientious and circular agriculture—values that, as you well know, we deeply believe in.

What Grape Pomace Contains

Let’s start with the basics.
Grape pomace is what remains after pressing grapes for wine production. This material, primarily composed of skins, seeds, and pulp residues, is rich in organic substances and nutrients. Despite its apparent simplicity, grape pomace encloses a world of possibilities that deserve to be explored and valorized.
Today, I will tell you more about how we use it in our company.

Grape Pomace: A Resource, Not Waste

As mentioned…
In the context of wine production, grape pomace is not merely waste, but a by-product with great potential. Its management is regulated by precise norms aimed at promoting sustainable practices. For example, in our company, for three years, we have used it as a soil amendment in agriculture, spreading it in the fields to biodegrade and enrich the soil with organic matter. This method is even more sustainable than the classic delivery to distilleries, as it significantly reduces the need for transportation, thus eliminating truck movements back and forth.

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Grape Pomace as a Natural Fertilizer

Using grape pomace as a “natural fertilizer” fits perfectly into a vision of sustainable agriculture. This material, rich in organic matter, biodegrades in the soil, improving its structure and fertility. Our approach involves burying it, through a practice that enhances soil enrichment and supports the healthy growth of plants.
Each autumn, after the harvest, I witness the return of the pomace to the fields, in a ritual that seems almost sacred. This material gently disperses on the soil that only a few weeks earlier hosted grape clusters. It’s a moment of rebirth, where the end of one cycle becomes the beginning of another.

I like to think of the process of burying the pomace as a gesture of gratitude towards the land that hosts us. Every time I walk between the rows of vines, I feel the strength of this enriched soil, and I observe the plants growing vigorous and healthy, nourished by a soil that has been cared for and loved, just like a member of our family.

How to Preserve Grape Pomace for Making Grappa

Now let’s look at the most well-known use of grape pomace, related to grappa.
For quality grappa, optimal preservation of the pomace is crucial. It’s essential to ensure that it is kept in conditions that preserve its integrity and organoleptic properties.

Adequate preservation also involves controlling the temperature and humidity to prevent undesired fermentation or mold formation. Moreover, protecting the pomace from exposure to air and light is vital, as these could alter the desired characteristics of the final product.

Investing in research and the development of advanced preservation methods is an important step towards the full valorization of grape pomace. This not only elevates the profile of grappa as a product but also contributes to the sustainability and efficiency of the wine industry, demonstrating that every element of the winemaking process can be optimized and respected.

But beyond the traditional use of grape pomace for grappa production, it’s important to consider interesting and sustainable alternatives.

Innovative and Sustainable Uses of Grape Pomace

In the current landscape of innovation and sustainability, grape pomace is proving to be an extraordinarily versatile element, transcending its traditional role in Grappa production and opening up to a world of possibilities.

One of the most promising applications of grape pomace is in the energy sector. Research is exploring how it can be used to produce bioethanol, a renewable fuel that could significantly reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The fermentation process of grape pomace, rich in sugars and organic materials, allows for the production of this eco-friendly fuel, demonstrating how winemaking by-products can contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

In the field of sustainable materials, innovative startups like VEGEA are experimenting with using grape pomace in the production of faux leather. This ecological alternative to animal leather not only reduces waste and environmental impact but also offers a durable and versatile material, suitable for a wide range of applications, from clothing to accessories, promoting a concept of style and beauty in harmony with nature.

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Circular Economy in the Company

In our company’s business model, grape pomace is not only a soil amendment but becomes an integral part of the production cycle.
Everything stays within the company, thus contributing to more careful and environmentally respectful management.

However, it’s important to remember that in this context, grape pomace does not replace proper fertilization but plays a crucial role in providing organic matter, revitalizing the soil, and supporting agriculture in a sustainable way.

With these practices, companies like ours demonstrate that it’s possible to combine quality production with respect for the environment, paving the way for a greener and more responsible future in the wine sector.

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