MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – Scientists have come up with a way to turn the pulp left behind in the wine-making process at Oregon vineyards into usable products.
Oregon vineyards produce more than 40,000 tons of grapes and when the wine-making is done, 35 percent of each grape is leftover. That means that 14,000 tons of leftover mush gets wasted – until now.
The skin, stems and seeds from wine grapes are called pomace. Some winemakers, like those at Willamette Valley Vineyards, use the pomace as compost, but for many others, it's simply waste.
Now scientists at Oregon State University have begun turning that waste into potential profit. They created a way to turn the grape pulp into biodegradable containers. The flower pots can be planted right into the ground.
“The pot will go along with the plant. Then the pot will be biodegraded, so you have no additional waste,” OSU professor Yanyun Zhao explained.
The pomace is rich with fiber and antioxidants, so the researchers also found a way to grind it down into food supplements and flour substitutes. They said the substitutes can be used in baked goods like breads and muffins.