A bin of Pinot Gris grapes harvested in the north Willamette Valley rests before being crushed at Ponzi Vineyards. The pomace and lees from these grapes would normally go to waste, but Okanagan-based company Winecrush is changing that. (Photo courtesy of Ponzi Vineyards)

A bin of Pinot Gris grapes harvested in the north Willamette Valley rests before being crushed at Ponzi Vineyards. The pomace and lees from these grapes would normally go to waste, but Okanagan-based company Winecrush is changing that. (Photo courtesy of Ponzi Vineyards)

An Okanagan company is crushing wine-making’s sustainability goals

Program utilizes derivatives from the winemaking process, rather than letting them go to waste

A new biomechanical process from an Okanagan-based company could soon turn the by-products from the wine-making process that are normally tossed away into natural food additives.

Okanagan-based company Winecrush has received research and development support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for the project called “Marlee.”

Winecrush describes the project as a “new biomechanical process to transform the food-grade wine derivatives — typically discarded after harvest and crush — into a high-performance flavour enhancement ingredient.”

READ MORE: Naramata winery supporting hospitality workers amid new COVID-19 health orders

To fund the project, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has awarded funding to Winecrush through its Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) program, which invests in the research, development, and adoption of clean technologies leading to the promotion of agri-based bio-products.

“We are honoured to receive support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Their ACT program was a perfect fit for our stage of development,” said Bill Broddy, co-founder and president of Winecrush. “The Marlee Project is designed to give wineries an effective alternative for the derivatives from the winemaking process, rather than let these food-grade materials go to waste.”

Sending waste materials to the landfill or leaving it on a winery’s property leads to methane emissions and soil contamination. The new process developed by Winecrush is designed to cost-effectively convert these materials into natural food additives suitable for a variety of health and food products, with both “high nutritional and monetary value,” according to the company.

As part of its pilot program, Winecrush worked with 10 Okanagan-based wineries to collect their pomace (the grape skins and seeds left after grapes are pressed) and lees (the sediment left behind). Winecrush said this saved a total of 150 tonnes of wine derivative from being dumped in landfills, avoiding the release of a total of 6,500 kilograms of methane.

“We weren’t sure what to expect when we signed up to partner with Winecrush, but their vision for sustainability and environmental preservation seemed to be in line with what we are trying to achieve here at Stag’s Hollow Winery,” said Okanagan Falls winemaker Kiera LeFranc.

Winecrush is now putting plans in place to use its technology for the 2021 harvest.

READ MORE: Pandemic an opportunity for B.C. wineries to reset, reinvent



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC WineFood and Winewine

Just Posted

The wildfire season in the Okanagan Valley region has been approached with greater apprehension and concern from area residents since the historic Okanagan Mountain Park fire in 2003. That fire burned 25,600 hectares, forced evacuations in Kelowna and Naramata impacting more than 33,000 people, destroyed 238 homes, and claimed 12 wooden trestles and damaged two other steel trestles in Myra Canyon. (File photo)
Ominous wildfire outlook if June rains don’t return to Okanagan

Dry spring is fueling potential for busy wildfire season in July and August

Joe Rich residents want logging operations in the area to stop for now until they get more clarity on slope stability and risks to the Mission Creek watershed. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Joe Rich logging poses watershed risk: residents

Area residents want the logging to stop in the area for the time being

Kelowna Law Courts. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Former Vernon teacher found guilty of historic sex crimes against minors

Anoop Singh Klair was found guilty of all eight charges against him in a Kelowna courtroom on Friday

An algal bloom on Wood Lake has residents concerned for the body of water's health. (Wendy Innes-Shaw)
‘Wood Lake looks seriously unwell’: Lake Country residents

Algal bloom appears to be getting worse, and stinky

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

The real estate market is hot in Vernon, and across the Okanagan. (John Dent photo)
North Okanagan home prices, demand continue to build

Single family home volumes up 200 per cent, worth average $647,000

A wildfire southeast of Vernon has been added to the BC Wildfire dashboard Friday, May 14, 2021. (BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire sparks southeast of Vernon

The fire appears to be in a remote area east of Aberdeen Lake

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Most Read