As If You Needed One More Reason to Love Wine
Asphalt is ubiquitous in our modern mobile lives, covering roads, parking lots and airport runways. So too, is the pernicious pothole. (Stay with me here; the wine part is coming). A mixture of liquid petroleum byproduct, stones and soil, asphalt undergoes a process of oxidation over time, becoming stiffer and prone to cracking and collapse.
In an effort to address this issue, Chilean engineers at the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, researched the high antioxidant qualities of the polyphenols in grape skins and discovered that grape skins could, when added to the mix, extend the life of pavements. In fact, they have been able to reduce the fatigue and cracking of asphalt pavement by 14% with the addition of dehydrated and powdered grape marc. (Marc is the mass of solids remaining after the juice is pressed from grapes for wine production). After experimenting with different grape varieties, they concluded that cabernet sauvignon grapes performed best, likely due to the higher content of polyphenols in their thick skins.