Can You Compost Wine: Learn About Wine’s Effect On Compost

Single Glass Of Red Wine
(Image credit: efired)

You know all about composting veggie peels and fruit cores, but what about composting wine? If you toss leftover wine into the compost heap, will you be harming or helping your pile? Some people swear that wine is good for compost piles, but wine’s effect on compost likely depends on how much you are adding. For more information about composting wine, read on.

Can You Compost Wine?

You might wonder why anyone would waste wine by pouring it on a compost heap in the first place. But sometimes you purchase wine that doesn’t taste good, or you let it sit around so long it turns. That’s when you might think of composting it.

Can you compost wine? You can, and there are a lot of theories about wine’s effect on compost.

One is certain: as a liquid, wine in compost will stand in for required water. Managing moisture in a working compost heap is essential to keeping the process going. If the compost pile gets too dry, the essential bacteria will die for lack of water.

Adding stale or leftover wine to the compost is an environmentally friendly way to get liquid in there without using water resources to do it.

Is Wine Good for Compost?

So, it’s probably not detrimental to your compost to add wine. But is wine good for compost? It might be. Some claim that wine acts as a compost “starter,” spurring on the bacteria in the compost to get busy.

Others say that the yeast in wine gives a boost to the decomposition of organic materials, especially wood-based products. And it is also claimed that, when you put wine in compost, the nitrogen in the wine may also help in breaking down carbon-based materials.

And anyone who makes their own wine can add the waste products in the composting bin as well. The same is said to be true for beer, and beer-making waste products. You can also compost the cork from the wine bottle.

But don’t overwhelm a small compost heap by adding gallons of wine to it. That much alcohol could throw off the requisite balance. And too much alcohol might kill off all of the bacteria. In short, add a little leftover wine to the compost heap if you like, but don’t make it a regular habit.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.