This Much-Needed Product Can Now Be Made From Wine

Waste not, want not. Wine is being turned into sanitisers as the world struggles to cope with the volume of demand.
Monday 29 June 2020
Instead of letting all that gorgeous wine go to waste, many are turning it into something useful at a time when it is most needed. Photo: Unsplash

Typical uses for wine are for an evening sip with friends or making that Coq Au Vin really pop, but in the times that we live in now, the new normal means adapting. In this situation, these wine businesses have turned to the currently lucrative and in-demand market of sanitisers. From water to wine and from wine to sanitiser, there are all kinds of transformations this year. 

Like most of the food industry, wine has been severely affected by the virus still rampaging across the globe, with exports and sales taking sharp plunges. Even with places and businesses opening again and the lowering of restrictions, times are still difficult.  



The elixir of life to some, wine has taken a hit globally. Photo: iStock/AFP


The head of the wine branch in the farming agency FranceAgriMer spoke about how 33 licensed distillers would collect the wine and distil it. Winemakers were given till 19 June to decide how much of their stocks they would give and in exchange, they would receive €78 in compensation if the wine is certified as belonging to a region and €58 if it is not.

Some have had to destroy crops due to the virus. Photo: AFP


After Brussels gave a green light for exceptional measures, the European public funds financed the distillation of two million hectolitres of French wine but experts say that three million hectolitres were in need of distilling.  As the logical step in regulating the excess of the industry as well as to provide a necessity, other major wine-producing countries such as Spain and Italy have resorted to similar measures.



Edward Martin, manager at the Waterloo Distillery in Belgium. Photo: AFP


The booze-making son of a pharmacist, Edward Martin, manager at the microdistillery, said that they had noticed the shortage of aqueous-alcoholic gel and a shortage of alcohol. In a lightbulb moment, he said to himself “That’s my job”. 

For the Waterloo Distillery, Belgium’s smallest, the vats that once held luxury tipples now serve 200 litres (53 gallons) of 86-degree proof alcohol per week destined for hand-sanitising gels. 

The Waterloo Distillery in Mont-Saint-Jean, Belgium. Photo: AFP


Instead of just working with the surplus, the distillery had at first been selling the alcoholic base of their whiskeys to chemists before moving on to fermenting a 100% sugar base and providing that.  Like a match made in heaven, the building that the distillery is housed in, the historic Mont-Saint-Jean farm served as a field hospital for the British forces at their decisive 1815 victory against French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. Things have come full circle. 



On the other side of the world, pharmacists struggling to cope with the shortage of hand sanitiser by creating their own unique, tropical version – from thousands of litres of fermented palm wine.

Bali police chief Petrus Reinhard Golose is the father of this brainchild and managed to rustle up some 4,000 litres of the popular, potent beverage known as arak, by asking local manufacturers to donate from their stocks, with the force also dipping into its own funds to buy up extra supplies.

It was then up to the staff at Bali’s Udayana University to turn the boozy liquid into sanitiser that could help battle COVID-19. Within a week the university was successful in producing disinfectant with a 96% alcohol content that met the WHO standards. Not to mention they added some clove and mint oil to reduce skin irritation. 


Source: AFP Relax News