Caviro: the circular economy that brings new life to the world of wine


How to develop quality and sustainability.

With a 100 million Euro investment in sustainability initiatives since 2009, Caviro, the main agricultural cooperative in Italy with 12,000 winemakers, continues to lead the development of a circular economy that turns waste into resources. To reach this goal, Caviro has created a new value in each sector, from the by-products of vine growing to wine production.

The Group, which currently employs 535 people in 4 different production sites and reported sales of 314 million Euro in 2014, has created four virtuous cycles which focus on four areas: the extraction of Polyphenols from grape seeds, Oenocyanin and Tartaric acid; energy self sufficiency and the use of renewable energy; wastewater recovery andthe creation of compost, which is also used for organic farming.

These elements were discussed at a workshop titled “Caviro, from sustainability to circular economy: new life in the world of wine” that was held on Monday, 5th October in Expo.

“The investments that we have made in the last 6 years, which amount to over 100 million Euros, have allowed us to continuously improve our performance in terms of both quality and respect for the environment. Our commitment to environmentally friendly practices dates back to our origins. Today, the Caviro Group recovers 30% of wastewater and saves 50,000 tons worth of packaging weight by using tetra-pack and lightweight glass”, says Sergio Dagnino, General Director of Caviro Sca, who presented the workshop. He went on to assess the results of the 2015 grape harvest, which was one of the best in recent years.

Carlo Dalmonte, President of Caviro Sca, went on to describe in detail Caviro’s unique model of circular economy. The impact of the Group is confirmed by figures, mainly those regarding energy: “All our waste – Dalmonte explained – is used to produce renewable energy: from the sediments, we produce biogas for electric and thermal energy; the controlled combustion of marc is also used to produce electric and thermal energy through the best techniques for the treatment of emissions. To this, we add the total and renewable energy self-sufficiency of our production sites, that efficiently help reduce the effects of greenhouse gases”.

A key example of how sustainability creates value is that the Caviro Group self-produced 110,627,569 kWh of energy, a saving of 20,687 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) last year. It is also worth mentioning the impact of the extraction of Polyphenols from grape seeds, Oenocyanin and Tartaric acid: the industrial processing of by-products delivered to the distillery, initially aimed at bioethanol recovery, has expanded to the recovery of products with a greater value. From by-products like sediments and marc, Caviro recovers grape seeds for the extraction of Polyphenols for winemaking, food and nutraceutical use; it also collects Oenocyanin, a natural colouring for food, and Tartaric acid used in the winemaking, food, pharmaceutical and building sectors. The virtuous cycle implemented by Caviro also includes the production of compost, used also for organic farming.

The analysis of environmental performances shows also that Caviro Distillerie currently recovers 99.9% of the waste produced, sending just 0.1% for disposal.

“Our model of circular economy – Dalmonte concluded – allows us to recover the majority of waste products and produce value. This enables us to reduce part of the costs and market a quality product at a price that is in line with the expectations of consumers”.

These strong environmental credentials have contributed to the success of the Caviro Group, which now exports its products to 70 countries; its wines are enjoyed by 7.3 million families in Italy, all while being able to reduce its footprint on an ecosystem that is becoming further endangered every day.

During his presentation, Luigi Mariani, Director of the Lombardy museum of Agricultural History and Professor at the University of Milan – Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, highlighted the impact of climate change over the last few years, and the importance of implementing “green” practices.

Consumers are paying greater attention to these initiatives: “People’s awareness on this topic is going to increase – said Virgilio Romano, Client Service Director of IRi – consumption will be increasingly influenced by the social and environmental impact of products”.

The Ministry of Environment is also working to increase the commitment of companies towards a circular economy. This was highlighted during the workshop by Barbara Degani, State Secretary for the Environment: “We are working on two aspects – Degani said – through voluntary agreements with companies, showing a new awareness on this issue, and on the other side through tax-exemption policies that favour organizations that are already committed to a circular economy. We are also working on environmental education, and we added two words to ‘Cittadinanza Attiva’: ‘responsible’ and ‘sustainable’, that are the topics supported by Caviro”.

In attendance were Carlo Dalmonte, President of Caviro Sca; Barbara Degani, State Secretary for the Environment; Luigi Mariani, Director of the Museo Lombardo di Storia dell’Agricoltura (Lombardy museum of Agricultural History) and full Professor at the Università degli Studi di Milano – Disaa (University of Milan – Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences); Virgilio Romano, Director Client Service of IRi, Sergio Dagnino, General Director of Caviro Sca and Sebastiano Barisoni, Executive Vice Director of Radio 24.

Press Release