Evaluating Value Added Grape Seed Oil Research Project for Sustainable Viticulture

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2012: $22,336.96
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Douglas Grave
Victorian Vineyards

Annual Reports

Information Products

Grape Seed Oil Research Presentation (Conference/Presentation Material)


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    This project seeks to increase the sustainability and growth of grape growers located in Iowa and Nebraska by producing a new value added product from locally grown grapes. Specifically, this research and demonstration project will determine the feasibility of producing Grape Seed Oil. The goal of this project is to increase the value of locally grown grapes and the sustainability of local vineyards and wineries.

    Currently, when wineries produce wine, the left over product (pomace) consisting of grape skins and seeds is commonly discarded. Every year in the Midwest, thousands of tons of pomace is thrown out or put back on the vineyard land for compost. But the oil obtained from a further dehydration and pressing process is rich in nutrients, especially antioxidants and fatty acids like linoleic acid. The nutritional components in grape seed oil provide a variety of healthy benefits, one of the most important being their ability to slow down and reverse free radical damage and reduce the risk of disease, especially heart disease, and slow skin aging. Grape seed oil is a powerful antioxidant, 50 times more potent than Vitamin E and 20 times more effective than Vitamin C in destroying these free radicals, harmful molecules that roam the body and damage cells. While grape seed oil is widely produced in the wine regions of Europe, grape seed oil production in North America is in its infancy. Here in the Midwest it is nonexistent. Vineyards and wineries have no practical experience with grape seed oil production. Basically, there is insufficient knowledge about the process, equipment, costs, benefits, and risks associated with grape seed oil production for vineyards/wineries to make an investment in this new potential value added production capability. This project will research and demonstrate what is required to obtain grape seed oil from the pomace produced by 3 participating area wineries during the 2012 harvest season.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We will evaluate the results of our project based on how well we meet our 7 objectives stated below. Our goal is to provide a basis (education, demonstration and cost, benefits and risk analysis) for which wineries or a regional cooperative would choose to develop a capability to produce grape seed oil. We recognize that our primary objective of increasing the sustainability of local vineyards may not be fully realized during the grant period. However, we believe that successful completion of objectives 2 through 7 will establish the building blocks necessary to achieve objective #1.

    Objective 1: Increase the sustainability of grape growers in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska by adding an additional value added product made from locally grown grapes.
    Evaluation: Not achievable during grant period.

    Objective 2: Develop and document method to repurpose existing farm equipment (e.g., Corn Dryer, Seed Cleaner) for processing grape pomace into grape seed oil.
    Evaluation: Corn Dryer and Seed Cleaner are successfully repurposed to process Pomace. All steps required are documented and made available to all interested parties and made available on WeIGGA Website.

    Objective 3: Develop methods for producing grape seed oil of consistently high quality that Midwest consumers are willing to buy.
    Evaluation: All steps and methods used to produce grape seed oil are documented via a written report with supporting photos and video. Inventory of grape seed oil provided for sale at wineries is exhausted prior to following years harvest.

    Objective 4: Demonstrate grape seed oil production process to regional wineries.
    Evaluation: At least 15 regional wineries/vineyards attend demonstration or receive presentation.

    Objective 5: Estimate the costs, benefits, and risks associated with local-scale manufacturing and marketing of grape seed oil in Iowa.
    Evaluation: A complete report of the labor and other associated costs relative to quantity of production will be provided to all interested parties.

    Objective 6: Evaluate the Business Model of grape seed oil production by individual wineries versus a regional cooperative model.
    Evaluation: Will produce a report that will be provided to all interested parties and made available on WeIGGA Website.

    Objective 7: Communicate project findings to North Central Region grape growers through on-farm demonstration trials, field days, meeting presentations, statewide and regional newsletter and trade-journal articles, press releases, and an on-line Extension bulletin.
    Evaluation: At least 4 demonstration trials/field days attended by 15 area wineries/vineyards, at least 2 presentations made to trade and association groups. Project report and photos used in statewide/regional newsletter, trade-journal article, press release, and Extension bulletin.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.