Scandinavian craft winemaker, Oddbird, has collaborated with designer Meng Du to turn leftover grape skins into alt-leather bags.
The winemaker is known for producing zero alcohol wines using a patented dealcoholisation process in which wine is stored in a vacuum at room temperature, then warmed a few degrees to let the alcohol naturally evaporate.
Winemaking produces waste by-products such as “grape marc” – or solid leftover skins – from pressing grapes into wine. Approximately 26 billion litres of wine are produced worldwide each year, with large amounts of the remaining grape marc left unused.
The company seeks to make winemaking more sustainable by exploring ways to upcycle the industry waste.
“In order to future proof winemaking, we are experimenting with the lifecycle and production to optimise the use of resources,” said Ylva Nestmark, brand director at Oddbird.
To create the grape leather, grape waste is collected from the vineyards, dried under sunlight, and finally ground into fine powder. The grape leather is then crafted by French leather artisan, Planet of the Grapes by blending it with natural local ingredients (not disclosed), turning it into liquid, and finally turning it into a workable leather fabric.
The bag collection, dubbed Unwasted, uses the designs of Meng Du, a young designer from Parsons School of Design, New York, inspired by the “squashed and dented” shapes of empty discarded milk cartons and beverage cans that symbolise the “value of second life”.
“I see myself more like a designer rather than one concerned only with fashion as a medium,” shared Du.
“It is there that I can be the most inventive about two issues that interest me the most, namely sustainability and minimal design.”
The company added that the winery’s challenge moving forward is to find a partner for collecting grape marks at a larger scale and putting the alt-leather into larger production.
The grape skin leather bag collection consists of two versions and sizes, Unwasted Merlot and Unwasted Chardonnay.