Why your next pair of shoes might just be produced from wine leather…

Are you ready to buy your next pair of shoes made from wine leather?  Sustainability in the wine industry reaches all aspects of the production process, and one of the challenges is what to do with the vast amounts of waste products from wine production which consists mainly of the pressed grape skins, stalks and seeds. Italian biotechnology company Vegea has come up with an interesting solution on how to use these waste products, which is set to change not only how wineries can increase their environmental sustainability, but also help the fashion and textile industries do the same.  

The growing problem of grape marc

Grape marc (also known as pomace) consists of the grape skins, stalks and seeds and is a major waste product from wine production representing about 20% of the total mass of grapes.  Whilst some marc is used for spirit distillation, until recently the majority is discarded as a waste product or used as a compost.  The sheer volume of waste product produced is a challenge for the wine industry in general.

Finding solutions – development of Wine Leather

An innovative solution, namely Wine Leather has been developed by Milan based Vegea, a biotechnology company founded in 2016. Vegea aims to promote the integration between chemistry and agriculture through the development of eco-sustainable products, leveraging the use of renewable  resources as an alternative to non-renewable fossil ones.

Wine Leather was the result of a collaboration between Vegea and Italian wineries to develop an innovative solution to recycle the large volumes of grape marc waste products in wineries.

Wine Leather has been a real break-through for the company.  Not only is Wine Leather 100% sustainable, it is soft, stable, suitable for using in the fashion and textile industries and reusable.  Whilst previously perhaps seen as a niche product for vegans, Wine Leather is set to be a good example of how to increase environmental sustainability and impact change in multiple industrial sectors.

Winner of the Global Change Award

Vegea won the Global Change Award for their innovation to produce a 100% vegetal leather.  They used 3 years of research to develop the techniques to produce wine leather in which no toxic solvents, heavy metals or dangerous substances are required in the production process.

Vegea has also won funding from the EU Horizons 2020 research and innovation program.


Vegea News updates

How the fashion and textile industries are changing

As environmental sustainability continues to become increasingly, important, several companies have already introduced Vegea Wine Leather into their collections, find out more below:

H&M Concious Collection

VEGEA products have been launched in H&M´s Concious Collection and will feature shoes and handbags made from grape leather

The first Wine Leather product launched was these sandals shown on the right. Visit H&M product page: HERE

H&M has been named in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the last 7 years ranked amongst the world´s top 10% most sustainable companies. 

Dutch shoe company Mercer Amsterdam

The high-end sneaker label Mercer Amsterdam founded by Dutch designer Pim Dresen and based in Amsterdam, has entered into a collaboration with Vegea  to produce new trainers named W3RD Wine Pack (retail price approx. €259) and are due to be launched as part of the Mercer Amsterdam´s Spring/Summer 2021 collection. The trainers also include some mesh from leftover PET bottles and algae-based materials for the sole.

Photo copyright Mercer Amsterdam

Bentley luxury cars includes Vegea Wine Leather

Luxury car producer Bentley is working towards a more sustainable future using 100% organic leather-like textiles in their cars interiors.

Read more: HERE