Grape skins hold all the sweet, delicious juice that turns into wine. Usually, the skins’ job is done as soon as the grapes are pressed and it’s thrown out as waste. But no longer. People in the architecture department at the University of California, Berkeley, are making 3D printed wine glasses made primarily from the skins of used wine grapes (67 percent skins, to be exact).
Wine grape skin waste might sound like a problem that didn’t need fixing. Yet the sheer amount of solid waste is staggering when you look at the numbers. California wineries produce more than 100,000 tons of solid waste from crushed grapes every year, Inside Science reports. For some perspective, 100,000 tons is the same amount as the displacement of the second largest cruise ship in the world, the Allure.
There’s a catch of course. Good things always have a catch. Ronald Rael, the associate member of architecture at Berkeley responsible for the wine glasses, didn’t make them for holding liquid. He sealed them to hold solids, but wine, as you’re probably aware, isn’t solid. Rael didn’t even make the glasses with the intention of starting a sustainable grape vine to grape glass movement. He made them with his colleague Virginia San Fratello to show the world that things previously thought of as waste — grape skins, saw dust, ugly salt, etc. — can be used as building materials.
Still, if it’s good enough for buildings, it must be good enough for a wine vessel, right? Rael may be missing out, but for all the other 3D printerpreneurs out there, you can almost taste a grape skin side hustle.