The story of CrushDynamics begins with a bike ride and a bear.

In 2016, founder and president Bill Broddy was cycling outside the winery when he saw a bear eating pomace — grape seeds and skins discarded during the winemaking process. According to CEO Kirk Moir, Broddy watched the bear not out of fear, but out of curiosity.

Later, Broddy asked Gary Strachan, a Canadian wine advocate and consultant who is now a lead scientist at CrushDynamics, why the bear was eating the discarded material. Strachan replied that the pomace is extremely nutritious, and the bear probably gorged himself on quality food before hibernating.

Broddy realized that there might be another way to use the pulp. It has great nutritional properties and the wine industry produces million tons per year. The bagasse is usually discarded, turned into fertilizer, or sometimes sold to energy companies for use in renewable energy.

CrushDynamics, formerly known as Winecrush Technologies, turns pomace into a protein ingredient. According to Moir, the company has a patented fermentation-based process that not only removes the pomace’s natural bitterness — the so-called tannins that give a slightly bitter flavor to red wines — but also reduces production costs by 90%. . The resulting ingredient can provide flavor enhancement, bitterness blocking, color, salt reduction, and shelf life. And he is rich polyphenolswhich contain antioxidants, help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and promote circulatory, heart, and immune health.

“This has global implications,” Moir said. “…We’re just trying to find good homes for the 15 million metric tons of wine derivatives around the world every year. We’ve got a pretty big, big, hairy, brash target.”

CrushDynamics is getting closer to achieving this goal. Company closed the seed round for $3.6 million. funding in April, with investors such as the Western Universities Technological Innovation Fund, Women’s Equity Lab, Lumia Capital, Australia’s AgFood Opportunities Fund and Turnham Green Capital. Moir said the funds would be used to turn the company’s process, which has so far been implemented in one wine region in Canada’s Okanagan Valley, into something that could be taken to other regions and used.

Making Wine Scraps Delicious

When CrushDynamics started, Moir said the goal was to add value to discarded wine pomace. And it all started with the most obvious thing: drying the cake and turning it into protein powder.

However, the natural bitterness of the cake prevented success. Moir said bitterness is part of the pomace, and the tannins released from wine skins and stems are essential to winemaking. After the company studied various technological processes for removing bitterness, Strachan developed a process based on fermentation. Moir called it “biotransformation” and said it was extremely successful at removing bitter taste and being a more economical way to produce the ingredient. And, according to him, this process also makes the final product more nutritious.

“We’re just trying to find good homes for the 15 million metric tons of wine derivatives around the world every year. We have a pretty big, big, hairy, bold target.”

Kirk Moir

CrushDynamics CEO

CrushDynamics currently has two ingredient lines: Ruby Purée and Gold Purée. According to Moir, the difference lies in the color of the ingredient and the mixture of grape varieties. One ingredient can do a lot: enhance nutrition, act as a natural preservative, or enhance umami flavor. Moir said the same applies to CrushDynamics puree, similar to how different blends of grapes are used to make different types of wine. These blends can highlight more desirable features for different products. Individual changes can also be made to the fermentation process in order to obtain a different kind of end product.

“We see them as incredibly useful levers to build an ever-growing family of products,” Moir said.

The process may also not be limited to winemaking waste. Moir said it could also work with other naturally bitter and tannin-rich plant wastes, such as cranberries.

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