New purpose for waste from Australian wineries

An Australian research project has found the clean and green leftovers from wineries can be transformed into tomorrow’s nutraceutical ingredients and sold as health supplements on pharmacy shelves. 

Led by Swinburne, Swisse Wellness and the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), the project is working to transform surplus Australian fruit and vegetables, such as grape skins and seeds sourced from wineries across Victoria, into nutraceutical ingredients.

Leftover waste from the wine production in the growing region of Yarra Valley and the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas are being recycled into ingredients to formulate potential Swisse vitamin supplements.

Dr Steven Lapidge, CEO of the Fight Food Waste CRC, said that this project has always been the “low-hanging fruit” of industry waste transformation, however it is not a simple project and it will only be delivered through collaboration.

“Through investing in research and development we will deliver new high-value commercial opportunities for the participants of this project while at the same time fighting food waste in Australia,” he said.

Swinburne is the research partner for this project, with their involvement led by Professor Enzo Palombo. 

The professor is aiming to utilise 250 tonnes of Victorian grape marc from this vintage in the production of grape seed extract for Swisse.

“We’ve done laboratory validation, technical feasibility and yield optimisation, therefore the next stage of commercialisation is establishing a pilot plant capable of producing the required quantity and purity of grape seed extract for Swisse,” he said.

Palombo said the work from this research project will produce wine waste into fully traceable Australian grape seed extract for supplement use. 

Justin Howden, Group Head of Global Government Affairs and Industry Development, said that this project will enable Swisse to source their grape seed extract locally for the 2020 vintage to go into the Asian Market as a premium product.

“This is a great opportunity for Swisse, the grape seed extract will be from the seeds leftover from the wine production in the growing region of Yarra Valley and the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas,” he said.

“Using the grape marc in our premium products is a highly sought-after ingredient in the Australian nutraceutical industry with health benefits including collagen formation, skin health, and antioxidant activity.”

Related stories: