The Italian wine industry has always been known for its innovation. With so many producers bringing an array of different ideas to the table, you could argue that there has never been a better time to be a fan of Italian wine.
Innovations aren’t only limited to the industry itself though. While changes in production techniques are always important, there is a certain niche of innovators who actually look beyond the wine itself and try to figure out what they can do with the leftovers of the production process and even how the wines themselves could be used to drive innovation forward in other industries.
It is the former that brings us to the subject of this article. Wine and leather. Traditionally, the two industries have been fairly separate from each other. While quality plays a role in both, leathers are made using the hides of animals. That hardly makes them appropriate for the wine industry, which uses grapes and other plant products.
However, that’s where you may be wrong. A true innovator has found a way to bring wine and leather together. Even more surprisingly, he has done so by creating a method for making leather products using the offshoots of the winemaking process.
Now, before we look into this in more detail, it is important to note that wineleather, as it will be called, it still in its very early stages. You can’t expect to go to a high street retailer today and find it lining the shelves.
However, that may well be a possibility in the future and it is all thanks to the work of one man. That man is Gianpiero Tessitore and he is preparing to show the world his creation in October 2017. The fashionistas among you will instantly recognize this as being around the time of the Milan fashion week and Tessitore is hoping to capitalize on some of the buzz created by the week to help people learn more about his new product.
Work began on the process way back in 2014 and it has taken a couple of years of development to bring it up to the standard of a commercial product.
So, how is it made? Well, according to Tessitore, all you need is grape skin and some seed fibres. Both of these are after products of the winemaking industry, so it should come as no surprise that they are in plentiful supply.
Through a process that he is understandably not giving away, Tessitore can use these core ingredients to create a simulation of leather that has all of the qualities of leather made using the hides of animals. You get the strength and the quality, plus the wineleather can be fashioned into an array of garments. Tessitore has already put together a few himself and is preparing a line of bags and other accessories for the big October unveiling.
After the launch of the prototype, Tessitore plans to take things back to the drawing board a little and work out some contracts with wine and fashion companies to see where he can take the project next. With a little bit of luck and a good product launch, he should find that one of the many companies that have already shown interest will want to take things further, which will take us one step closer to having genuine wineleather in our stores.
Now, you may be wondering why this should even matter. After all, we already have plenty of leather products available to us, so why is wineleather such a big deal? There are actually plenty of reasons that you may want to make the switch to wineleather.
The very nature of traditional leather product means that animals must be killed in order to create leather products. After all, they use the hide of the animal and you can’t get that while the animal is still alive.
Wineleather completely eliminates this issue as it only uses plants in its production. This is great news for the cows, alligators, and reptiles that are usually used for the production of leather. It is also wonderful news for animal lovers who want to get their hands on some leather but can’t wear traditional products because of their origins.
If marketed correctly, wineleather could appeal to people far outside of the fashion industry. For example, automobile manufacturers often make a big deal about offering leather interiors. This alienates those who don’t want animals to be killed, so we are sure that many vehicle manufacturers will be looking to this invention with interest.
Now, you may well be thinking that having a cruelty-free leather product sounds all well and good. However, it is likely to cost you much more thanks to the machinery that is required to create the leather.
Not so according to Tessitore. The cost of getting his hands on the grape materials needed for production is relatively low. After all, winemakers have little use for the pulp left over from wine production, so they’re happy to let it go for a very small charge or even without asking for any money at all.
Best of all, the process involves machinery that is already in use to create leather. That means that producers don’t need to invest in any new machinery to make it.
We imagine that we will see a lot of leather producers incorporating wineleather into their products when Tessitore makes the process available to others.
The Final Word
It is astounding to think of all of the innovation that surrounds the wine industry. Not only do we have people coming up with new wines and growing techniques, but we also have innovators like Tessitore, who can look at something that was traditional seen as useless and make something amazing with it.
We are looking forward to October 2017 and the official unveiling of wineleather to the masses. With a little luck, we may be seeing the genesis of a product that is better for the environment and brings the benefits of leather to those who don’t want to wear animal products.