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You just can’t make wine without crushing some fruit or veggies. And the pulp waste that is left after the first fermentation was a concern of ours. The fruit of choice would be bagged, crushed, and covered with water to form the wine must. At the end of the first fermentation period, usually five to seven days, we would remove the pulp and have to dispose of it. For one gallon of wine, the amount of waste is negligible. But if we considered that, on average, one gallon of wine produces about a half pound of solid waste, when we start making 25 gallons of wine at a time, we are looking at over 10 pounds of waste. Yes, we could dispose of it into the garbage, but, we needed to see if there was a better way.
We realized that most grape wines are made from pressed grapes, so, why not press the fruit, extract the juice, and use the juice for the wine. We borrowed a juicer from a friend and discovered that although it added a step before making the wine, there was no messy bag of pulp, and when we tasted the wine several months later, it had a cleaner and crisper taste than the wine that was made the traditional “home wine” way,
Our next step was to purchase a fruit press. The volume of juice that we got when we pressed the fruit was about the same as when we juiced the fruit. The must of the wine was clearer so we don’t need to rack the wine as many times before bottling it.
But, what about the pulp? We still have to dispose of the pulp somehow. Putting it into the garbage was not the way we wanted to go. So, we decided to treat our hens with the fruit pulp. This is a win-win for us. We can eliminate tossing the pulp into the garbage and the hens enjoy the change of pace with the fruit pulp.
The only thing we need to consider now is the liquid waste during the racking process. The amount of alcohol in the waste is minute and it is diluted by the water used to clean the carboys. Again, the waste and water disposed of from one carboy is negligible but we needed to think about the amount we will have when we are doing hundreds of gallons of wine. The liquid waste can be caught in a reservoir and further diluted and spread on our fields. Although this may not fertilize the ground or be of great benefit to the plants, it is environmentally safe for the fields and will keep this waste out of the water ways, septic fields, and ground waters.
All in all, we feel that this process is an environmentally sound practice for our future winery.