Crushing it, reducing waste

You may have walked into a tasting room or a wine event and snacked on products from Winecrush.

The Penticton-based company turned the “leftovers” from the wine-making process into tasty treats and flavour enhancers.

Chances are most wine drinkers don’t think about what happens to the materials left after the grapes have grown, been picked and pressed, and gone into the bottle you’ve just poured.

What’s left?


And what’s that? Marc, the grape skins and seeds left after the grapes are pressed, and lees, the sediment left behind.

Enter the “Marlee” Project.

Bill Broddy, founder of Winecrush, noticed a bear and her cubs in a vineyard chomping on the discarded pomace. Bears like delicious and nutritious food, so an idea was born.

What’s left after the grapes have been processed is rich in healthy phenolic compounds, fibre, and it has antioxidant properties to boot.

And Winecrush is now attracting much attention for a new process that turns this waste into valuable nutrition.

In 2020 and 2021, it was named an Emerging Rocket in agri-tech by the Ready to Rocket list that recognizes B.C.’s most promising innovative tech companies,.

In 2021, it was named a rising star at the B.C. Cleantech Awards. The company is also attracting investment for its new, clean-green-agri-tech process.

But not only does this create a food additive for a variety of products, it also helps the environment. The pomace remains out of the landfill, reduces methane emissions, and prevents soil contamination.

Last year, 10 wineries participated in the Marlee Project, rescuing 150 tonnes of what could have gone to the dump, or about 175 carbon credits.

As the growing season begins and the buds are already emerging, Winecrush is planning for the next harvest. If you see some odd bins at your favourite winery later this year, it quite likely will be this stuff being collected.

Nothing is going to waste, which might disappoint a few bears, but eventually it makes its way into a healthy food product that you can pair with your favourite Okanagan wine.


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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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