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Wine Grapes Propel Personal Care Industry

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: August 5, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
Italy’s Faenza vineyards

Silvi ’59 harvests the grapes grown in Italy’s Faenza vineyards to produce its skin care line.

Winemakers from the rolling hills of Faenza, Italy, to the vineyards of California’s Napa Valley, have ties to their land as deeply rooted as the bonds of family. The generational craft of nurturing grape vines, harvesting and fermenting their juices, has spurred business savvy—personal care lines recycling the grapes used in wines. But the ever-expanding, wine-inspired beauty trend, largely supported by the benefits of grape seed oil, spans further than niche skin care brands. It has also broken into the cosmetics arena, hair care and spa markets.

‘Wholly’ Grapes

Lydia Mondavi, principal of 29 Cosmetics, produced in the Napa Valley by 29 Luxury Goods, married into the historic wine-producing Robert Mondavi family before finding inspiration to launch her luxury cosmetics line exclusively to Neiman Marcus department stores. Six thousand miles away, Loretta Magnani honored a similar family tradition. She founded Silvi ’59 in remembrance of her mother, who opened the Italian beauty boutique Silvana Profumeri in 1959. As passionate about wine as her grandfather, who worked in a Sangiovese vineyard for the Bishop of Faenza, Magnani to this day uses the red grapes of the region for her skin care line.

“I remember my grandfather saying that the polyphenols in grape seeds have incredible properties. They make life longer and healthy,” says Magnani, whose grandfather lived to be almost 100. “Grape seed extract is known as a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from premature aging, disease and decay.”

But other parts of the grape, not just its seeds, are becoming popular main ingredients in personal care brands. Mondavi recycles every part of the grape from the moment the seeds are pressed and removed from the winery. She even swears by grape seed supplements in her diet, which she says protect against environmental toxins and free radicals. “We use crushed grape seeds, grape seed extract and grape seed oil,” Mondavi tells GCI magazine during the 29 Cosmetics launch in April 2008 at Oak Brook, Illinois’ Neiman Marcus. “We also use the pomace and the grape skins in spa treatments, and stems get turned into mulch.”

Caudalie, the company that started the grape-based skin care trend, circa 1993, claims nearly every part of the grape can be used in personal care products. According to its Web site (www.caudalie.com), grape pulp provides water rich with oligoelements, the seeds contain antioxidant polyphenols and oil, and the stalks and stems contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that stimulates cell growth and is found in the skin of red grapes.

Wine and the Family Appeal