European project BestMedGrape is helping winegrowers transform grape waste into cosmetic products

By Katy Dartford
European project BestMedGrape is helping winegrowers transform grape waste into cosmetic products
Copyright  euronews

In the Argiolas winery in Sardinia, 5000 tons of grapes are produced every year.

Mariano and Barbara Murru are proud: here only native grapes are used and they contribute to the circular economy.

The waste of the grapes after the harvest is used to produce cosmetics and healthy products, thanks to BestMedGrape, a European project that brings together winegrowers, researchers and entrepreneurs from several Mediterranean countries.

"The Mediterranean is the cradle of the viticulture civilization in the world. One of the reasons why we took part in the project is precisely the possibility of comparing ourselves with other companies in the Mediterranean," says Mariano Murru, production manager at Argiolas.

"Because this will give us the opportunity to develop ourselves, through the exchange of information, experiences and traditions."

An ENI CBC Med project, BestMedGrape, was launched last year with a total budget of €3.3 million, 80% of which is provided by the European Union. The final 20% - amounting to 700.000 euros are co-financed by the "partners".

They are 8 public and private "partners" in 5 countries of the "Mediterranean Basin" -Italy, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan - there are also other "associated partners": 9 in all, including 2 in Iran and the Palestinian territories.

The University of Cagliari is coordinating the project, and this laboratory is at the heart of scientific research.

Grape stalks, skins and seeds are a goldmine for Maria Manconi's team

"We can possibly prepare nutraceutical and cosmetic products, and then products to be taken orally or applied to the skin that are good for our health and protect the body from 'oxidative stress' which cause of ageing," says Maria Manconi, scientific coordinator Bestmedgrape.

From this Autumn on, the research results will be transferred to 150 entrepreneurs potentially interested in the 5 countries. participating in the project through workshops called "living labs".

This knowledge is also shared with partner companies, such as Icnoderm.

They develop prototypes of products derived from grape waste. Marco Zaru, co-founder of the brand, says he is ready to share their "know-how".

"Our function in this project is to work on commercial development potential, based on the results of our research. In fact, it is necessary to go towards the industrial manufacture of the products.

This project, which combines the tradition of viticulture, innovation and the circular economy, now brings together partners from both sides of the Mediterranean.