It could be argued that grappa production is itself a form of recycling, as the pomace it is made from is waste material left from wine making. So you’d think there is little of value left in the pomace after grappa production. However, after processing this is a valuable fuel.
The spent pomace is dried in a huge rotating heated drum, entering at one end with 50% moisture and emerging at the other with just 3-4% moisture. As the pomace leaves the drier the seeds are separated from the dried skins and stalks. Around 17% of the weight of the dried seeds is valuable grape seed oil which is extracted with the remainder of the seeds used as a fertiliser.
The dried skins are burnt in a boiler producing steam to power both the drier and stills with sufficient extra energy to also heat the offices. Hence, the distillery is powered by renewable fuel. Emissions are minimised by an electrostatic precipitator and are considerably below legal limits.
The CO2 produced by the fermentation and burning of the pomace is neutralised by grape vines absorption of CO2 while growing. Thus Francoli is a neutral impact producer. However, the Francoli family’s ethical approach led them to go even further and seek zero environmental impact certification, something they achieved in 2006.
To offset the carbon emissions related to commercial activities such as supply and haulage of goods, car and air travel, the company contributes to the protection of 22 hectares of tropical forest in Costa Rica, an area sufficient to absorb enough CO2 to offset all of Francoli’s emissions.
Installation of solar panels to generate electricity was a first step towards energy independence but in 2012 the Francoli family built a 1,000 kilowatt power plant next to their distillery. This burns waste wood and vegetable matter to produce steam that drives turbines producing electricity. Around 10% of this is used to power the distillery and offices with the remaining 90% feeding the national grid. The waste ashes produced by the plant are used to make fertiliser.