• Hilary Niver-Johnson of Finger Lakes Wines makes pastry out of flour created from wine waste. (Hilary Niver-Johnson)Source: Hilary Niver-Johnson
Frustrated with the waste produced by winemaking, one innovative baker set about finding another use for it.
Lauren Sams

6 Dec 2017 - 9:54 AM  UPDATED 6 Dec 2017 - 9:55 AM

Hilary Niver-Johnson, who works in the Finger Lakes district in New York State, was fed up with the volume of leftover mashed grapes going to waste in the wine-making region. “The skins of the grapes held so many nutrients,” she said. Why not use them to create another highly nutritious food? This is what inspired her Finger Lakes Wine Flour.

Pomace (or marc, as it’s sometimes known) waste is a huge problem for the wine industry. While many wineries use the leftover grape skin and seeds for fertiliser or compost, there’s only so much of those things you can use. Increasingly, winemakers are searching for better alternatives for this waste product.

Recently, researchers at the University of Adelaide found a method for using pomace to fortify other spirits, and there’s even a mouthwash made with a specific polyphenol (a type of antioxidant) found in pomace. 

But wine flour could trump these ideas - it’s low-cost, highly nutritious and makes use of all of the pomace, not just a small part of it. After the grapes are crushed, the marc is sorted, separated, sun-dried and then milled at a traditional flour mill.

Like wine varietals, the different wine flours have different tastes. 

Like wine varietals, the different wine flours have different tastes. Niver-Johnson (who shares wine flour recipes on her website) says merlot flour works well in strawberry-flavoured baked goods, while riesling flour is a great pairing with apple.

The flour isn’t used as a substitute, rather, like coffee flour, it’s an addition. High in protein and fibre, and gluten-free, it’s a great way to use something that might otherwise be thrown out.

While wine flour hasn’t made it to Australia yet, it can only be a matter of time, considering our massive wine industry. In the meantime, you can order Niver-Johnson's Finger Lakes Wine Flour from Etsy.


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