Two Prosser Men Find Solution to Wine-Making Dilemma
Kennewick -- The number of wineries in the area continues to multiply, but with the wine-making process comes a dilemma.
The problem is the tons of by-products left behind after vintners extract the juice from the grape. Many years ago, a local man began to ponder the problem of what to do with what many might simply consider 'waste.'
In the last five to six years, Dr. Eric Leber, a semi- retired chemist from the Tri-Cities, has come up with 50 different products that can be made from the by-products of wine making. Among those: varietal grape seed oils, flour for baking, soaps, and skin lotions. Those are the more tame of the solutions he has engineered.
Leber has also experimented with papers and plastics, and can show you the results. He has also looked at a high octane ethanol distillate, and pelletized fuel, which you can also examine up close.
The chemist is working with Jim Early, the President of FruitSmart in Prosser. Early's firm has been working with fruit by-products for more than two decades. He and Leber are already in the process of producing over one hundred thousand pounds of grape seed flour. And Leber's varietal grape seed oils, available in Chardonnay, Reisling, and Merlot, are already on the market.
One client, Christopher Ainsworth, the owner of Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen in Walla Walla, says he uses the Chardonnay Moroc infused oil in his popular Moroccan salad, but he plans also to use it in breads, for sauteeing, and in other menu items.
Leber has named his company called Apres Vin. Three months into it's inception, the firm already has twenty clients and five sales representatives in the Northwest. Leber says he expects growth to skyrocket this year, by ten-fold.
Because Apres Vin has had such a successful beginnng, Leber's web developers have yet to put up the company website. However, it will be on-line in the next few weeks. Check in the next few weeks for www.apresvin.com.
in prosser... Ruth johnson, kndu local news.