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The wine industry is a significant economic sector with considerable environmental impacts owing to waste generation, energy use, and pesticide application. The adoption of circular economic solutions is essential for aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Circular economy practices in the wine industry focus on waste valorization and industrial symbiosis, which involves using waste from one sector as an input for another, thus closing the resource loop and reducing waste.


This study employs a systematic literature review methodology that integrates grey literature to cover a broader spectrum of topics. This approach involves a thorough selection and analysis of relevant papers, focusing on circular economic practices in the wine industry. The literature review was divided into four main stages: paper selection, descriptive analysis, grey literature collection, and content analysis. This systematic approach ensures a comprehensive and unbiased overview of the existing research.


Distribution of Papers

The analysis reveals that most research on the circular economy and sustainability in the wine industry has been published between 2018 and 2023, indicating a growing interest in these topics. The papers are distributed across various journals, with the “Journal of Cleaner Production” and “Sustainability (Switzerland)” publishing the most articles on the subject.

Research Methodologies

The methodologies used in the reviewed papers are diverse, including qualitative case studies, quantitative surveys, conceptual analyses, and literature reviews. This diversity indicates the multifaceted nature of sustainability research in wine industry.

Attitudes Towards Sustainability

Drivers and Barriers

The wine industry’s transition to sustainability is driven by internal factors, stakeholder expectations, marketing strategies, and innovation needs. However, barriers, such as financial constraints, lack of knowledge, and rigid regulations, hinder the adoption of sustainable practices. This study emphasized the need for supportive policies and incentives to overcome these barriers.

Sustainable and Circular Business Models

The development of sustainable business models in the wine industry involves the integration of environmental considerations into the supply chain. These include upstream integration, balanced scorecard approaches for environmental certification, and strategic marketing for sustainable wine production. Successful business models align with the principles of the circular economy, promoting resource efficiency and waste minimization.

Technological Innovations

Technological innovations play a crucial role in enhancing sustainability in the wine industry. These include advanced packaging solutions, energy-efficient production techniques, and innovative waste-management practices. The adoption of new technologies can help wineries meet growing consumer demand for sustainable products.

Indicators and Performance Measurement

Performance measurement systems are essential for monitoring and evaluating sustainability initiatives in wine industry. These systems use indicators related to water use, energy consumption, greenhouse-gas emissions, and waste management. Effective performance measurements help wineries track their progress towards sustainability goals and make informed decisions.

Wine Waste Valorisation

The valorization of wine waste is a key component of circular economic practices. Wine waste can be repurposed for various applications, including bioenergy production, biogas generation, biorefinery processes, and the extraction of bioactive compounds. These processes not only reduce waste but also create valuable by-products that can be used in other industries.

Bioenergy and Biogas

Wine wastes, such as grape marc and pomace, can be used to produce bioenergy and biogas. These processes convert organic waste into renewable energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.


Wine waste is used in biorefineries to produce biofuels, biochemicals, and other value-added products. This approach maximizes the use of all the components of the winemaking process, contributing to a circular economy.

Chemical Reductants and Energy Recovery

Chemical reductants and energy recovery processes transform wine waste into a valuable resource. These technologies help to reduce the environmental impact of wine production and promote the sustainable use of resources.

Wine Waste as Value-Added Products

Wine waste can be transformed into high-value-added products, including bioactive compounds, compost, and functional food additives. These products have applications in various industries such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food production. Valorizing wine waste not only contributes to environmental sustainability but also opens new revenue streams for wineries.

Packaging Innovations

Innovative packaging solutions, such as biodegradable materials and sustainable design, can reduce the environmental impact of wine packaging. These innovations align with the consumer demand for eco-friendly products and contribute to the overall sustainability of the wine industry.

Bioactive Compounds

Wine waste is rich in bioactive compounds such as polyphenols and antioxidants, which have health benefits. The extraction of these compounds for use in nutraceuticals and cosmetics adds value to wine waste and promotes a circular economy.

Compost and Fertiliser

Composting wine waste creates an organic fertilizer that can be used in agriculture. This process recycles nutrients back into the soil, enhances soil fertility, and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.

Functional Food Additives

Wine waste can be used as an ingredient in functional foods, providing health benefits and improving the nutritional value. This application adds value to the waste and supports the development of innovative food products.

Grey Literature Insights

The grey literature review provides additional insights into practical applications and technological solutions for wine waste valorization. These include innovative projects and start-ups that focus on transforming wine waste into valuable products such as biocosmetics, biofuels, and vegan leather. These initiatives demonstrate the potential to create sustainable business models and promote a circular economy in the wine industry.

Discussion and Research Agenda

This study identifies several areas for future research, including the need for empirical evaluations of industrial symbiosis practices, cost-benefit analyses of sustainable practices, and the development of performance indicators for sustainability. Collaborative efforts among researchers, industry stakeholders, and policymakers are essential for advancing sustainability agendas in the wine industry.


This systematic literature review highlights the importance of adopting circular economy practices in the wine industry to enhance sustainability and reduce environmental impacts. The valorization of wine waste presents significant opportunities for innovation and economic growth. By addressing the identified research gaps and promoting collaboration, the wine industry can transition to a more sustainable and resilient future.

Read all at: Abbate, S., Centobelli, P. & Di Gregorio, M. Wine waste valorisation: crushing the research domain. Rev Manag Sci (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-024-00779-5

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