6 Jun 2013

Vineyards to form grape waste company

9:31 am on 6 June 2013

Eight Marlborough wine companies are working on finding new uses for the large amounts of grape waste left over after wine making.

Each year the country's biggest wine region generates about 40,000 tonnes of grape marc, the skins, seeds and other residue left over after grapes are pressed.

With the support of Marlborough District Council, the wineries are proposing to form a company, Grape Marc Ltd.

Spokesman Eric Hughes of Brancott Estate says it will explore more profitable ways of disposing of the grape waste which at the moment, mostly ends up as basic compost or stock feed.

He says most of the material arrives over a very short period of 20 days or so.

"So it would be certainly nice to either get it into some stable form that it can be used extensively through the year or into some really good high quality compost."

Mr Hughes says other uses include grape seed oil and stock food although the group wants to work with research and development groups to see whether there are any other uses that can be added to that.

He says there are a lot of antioxidants in grape skins and seeds.

Mr Hughes says it's early days yet, but he hopes to see some tangible results from the grape waste project in a couple of years.