September 19, 2017 – Let’s applaud the lonely entrepreneur taking recycling to the extreme. Making flour out of wine pomace surely qualifies and that’s the mission of Finger Lakes Wine Flour of Hector, N.Y.
Armed with an environmental science degree from SUNY ESF, Hilary Niver-Johnson founded Sustainable Viticulture Systems in order to create a value added product from the pomace generated by the wineries of the Finger Lakes. Pomace is the leftover skins, seeds, stems and pulp after the grapes are crushed and the juice runs off. In the case of red wine, contact with the skins imparts color and tannins. White wines have very limited skin contact.
It is almost counter intuitive to think that something like flour could come from all that mush, which is often sold for next to nothing as cattle feed. Hilary is not the first to produce wine flour but she is the first on the east coast and she is well on her way to establishing a strong retail presence.
In 2015 Finger Lakes Wine Flour came to market. The startup used 60 tons of pomace over three years but is now at the point of using 60 tons in one year. Wine Flour offers the advantages of high protein, high fiber, high in antioxidants and is gluten free so it is a boon to vegans, celiacs and anyone with digestive issues. It should not be substituted for all-purpose flour – unless you want to make bricks! – but used as a supplement. For example substitute one or two tablespoons of wine flour to a cup of flour in a recipe. It can also be used when thickening sauces or used in mac and cheese, for example. In the case of the latter, flour made from a white wine grape such as chardonnay or riesling would be the choice.
Even though the amount used is quite limited, Hilary told us that it imparts the flavor of the grape. She has come up with an excellent food pairings guide, see below, and her web site has recipes, a list of retailers and a place to shop on line. An 8 ounce bag of any variety of flour sells for $14.00 and since so little is used, it goes a long way. http://www.flxgrapeflour.com/products222.html
Merlot– Anything made with strawberries, steak, stews, red sauces, meatballs, meatloaf, etc, cake, pancakes
Cabernet Sauvignon– anything made with black raspberries or blackberries, plums, steak, stews, red sauces, other red meat, etc, cakes, cookies, pancakes
Red Blend– anything made with triple berries or plums, and same as Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, cakes cookies, pancakes.
Cabernet Franc– Anything made with blueberries- steak rubs- fried calamari- olive spreads, stews, red sauces, pizza crust, pasta, pie filling
Pinot Noir– anything made with cherries- also anything made with pork or duck, i.e. duck gravy or pulled pork sauces.
Riesling – anything made with apples, cakes, cookies, pancakes, pie filling, pizza crust, chicken, white fish, breading, white cheese sauces or other white sauces etc.
Gewurztraminer– anything made with peaches or spiced with cayenne, French macrons, cupcakes, spicy flavors, Spanish rice, sauces, hummus, spreads, popcorn spices, etc.
Chardonnay– Anything paired with banana or butter sauces, fried fish and other breading, shrimp, breads, mussels, tofu, pancakes, cookies, cakes etc.
Pinot Blanc– anything paired with citrus- citrus smoothies, pancakes, cookies, pie crust, pizza crust, fish, fried fish, salad dressings, etc.
Please note: All of the flours work in pancakes, cakes, pizza crusts, homemade pastas, smoothies, protein drinks, cookies, crackers and cupcakes. Their flavors and their colors will all be different.