The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Waste from NZ’s wine industry set to be transformed into high-value products 

Waste from New Zealand’s wine industry is set to be transformed into high-value products in a $9.8 million project led by the University of Auckland.

The stems, skins and seeds left over from winemaking – called grape marc – offer opportunities for food, paper, pharmaceutical, building and chemical products.

Professor Paul Kilmartin, an expert in wine chemistry, will lead the research programme, which was awarded a grant by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund.

Food additives, chemicals for specialised applications, and paper products with fire-retardant and antimicrobial properties are among potential uses.

“Our research team holds several patents and has developed leading-edge technological approaches that will be applied to grape marc components,” said Kilmartin in a funding application.

Besides Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland scientists, the team includes researchers from AUT, Crown research institute Scion and the University of Canterbury.

The programme will be “an example of how to create substantial new high-value product revenue streams for New Zealand companies while eliminating a primary industry waste stream as part of our future circular economy,” according to the funding application.

New Zealand’s winemakers, centred in Marlborough, have been grappling with increasing quantities of grape marc even as the industry aims for zero waste to landfill by 2050.

Kilmartin’s background in wine chemistry includes setting up the University’s postgraduate Wine Science programme in 2003, which is now located at the Goldwater Wine Science Centre on Waiheke Island.

How to catch up with The Shout NZ

Online, updated daily with its own unique content and breaking news.
Our weekly newsletter – free to your inbox! Subscribe here.
We are also on Facebook and Instagram!