Grape pomace was treated by hydrothermal carbonization (sub-critical water, 175-275 degrees C) and torrefaction (nitrogen atmosphere, 250 and 300 degrees C), with mass yield of solid product (char) ranging between 47% and 78%, and energy densification ratio to 1.42-1.15 of the original feedstock. The chars were characterised with respect to their fuel properties, morphological and structural properties and combustion characteristics. The hydrothermal carbonization produced the char with greater energy density than torrefaction. The chars from torrefaction were found to be more aromatic in nature than that from hydrothermal carbonization. Hydrothermal carbonization process produced the char having high combustion reactivity. Most interesting was the finding that aqueous phase from hydrothermal carbonization had antioxidant activity. The results obtained in this study showed that HTC appears to be promising process for a winery waste having high moisture content. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.