Making the most of grape marc
Wine companies typically throw away up to a quarter of their harvest every year. Before you bemoan the loss of all that wine… no, we don’t throw wine away. It’s just that grape juice comes along with things like grape skins, seeds, bits of stem and whatnot – things we cannot use to make wine. Once the juice has been extracted, this dry marc is of no use to a winemaker, and in the past was carted off to landfill.
But at Babich we’re exploring different ways to make good use of grape marc.
Some of it is provided to farmers as is, for use in stock feed. With recent droughts in New Zealand, farmers are forced to augment their animals’ primary diet of grass. Importantly, the marc reduces farmers’ reliance on palm kernel as an ingredient in stock food, which helps save the rain forest, which helps save the planet from the build-up of greenhouse gases. Neat, ay?
Some of the marc we provide to cropping farmers, who plough it into their fields to enrich the soil, to grow food for people.
Grape marc also offers the potential to be upcycled into more valuable products. Babich provides grape marc to two companies doing research in this area. One avenue is to refine the marc for a higher grade of stock feed, but there are also efforts to use grape marc as a major ingredient in pharmaceutical products. One of these is using the grape seeds for human dietary supplements.
We are watching these developments with great interest, as we just hate for anything to go to waste. Nature looks after us, and we like to return the favour.