When bioeconomy, wood chemistry and cosmetics create a promising alliance

Oak chips are an alternative to barrels in the winemaking process. They are developed by cooperages from 100% natural oak staves from sustainably managed PEFC forests. They are then placed in stainless steel vats to infuse and release their aromas for a minimum of 3 months depending on the desired taste/olfaction. When they come out of the vats, these chips are therefore soaked and impregnated with wine, and are discarded after use.

The challenge of the VALOCOVIN project is to propose a recycling/upgrading solution for these chips, using the natural properties of wine and oak contained in this wine-making by-product. The objective will be to characterise the oak chips and their potential for use in high value-added cosmetic applications. The presence of molecules of interest (particularly natural antioxidants) and the bioactivity of the extracts will be analysed.

The potential of using chips ground into vegetable powders as emulsion stabilisers will also be studied, with and without prior extraction of the molecules of interest, and then exploited in model formulas, some of whose properties will be evaluated.

This approach is in line with the environmental certification process for châteaux, estates and cooperatives in the Bordeaux and French vineyards, and with the strong social demand for eco-responsible and "clean beauty" solutions. It also corresponds to a growing desire to exploit wood, which is a natural resource rich in active and functional compounds.

This project, scheduled to be completed in May 2023, is supported by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region.

- The Bordery company
- The CVA, Centre de valorisation des Agroressources

Contact: Guillaume Chollet, Head of Non-Food Valuation Department

wood chips and cosmetics