As environmental regulations across Europe tighten up, wine producers are having to think carefully about their waste disposal practices.
Cristina Durán Martínez, project manager at Bremerhaven, told BeverageDaily.com that the water used during pressing and fermentation has an extremely high organic load that means it pollutes waste treatment systems, lakes and rivers if not handled properly.
In addition, solid residuals are commonly used as fertilisers or compost but as such they can create unpleasant smells, contaminate the ground water and spread germs.
Because no effective treatment processes have been established to tackle these issues, the EU is funding a project, led by research service provider Bremerhaven, to identify affordable and sustainable alternatives.
Progress so far
Explaining how the project has progressed since the start date in February last year, Martínez said Bremerhaven, working with partners from across the EU, has screening existing research and conducted field research at wineries.
Having measured waste levels on-site and examined how wineries currently deal with, Martínez said the team is currently studying the results.
The next step will be to identify which technologies to apply and this will entail lab tests, on-site pilots and economic evaluations. Bremerhaven said this is all due to be completed by January next year.
Within the scope of the three-year project, Bremerhaven also plans to exploit the potential of the remaining high-value and biologically active substances in wine waste. It said the partners plan to foster the recovery of valuable residual substances like polyphenols, oils and biocides, with the aid of modern processing techniques.
The Sustavino project, which has received €1.1m in EU funding, brings together four research organisations, five wine co-ops and four wine producers from eight member states.