Forward Thinking: Fruit of the Vine

First printed in Perfumer & Flavorist magazine, June 2010.

Grapes are known for their antioxidant properties and health benefits. There has been an increased interest in grapes, particularly those used in wine. Manufacturers are launching an array of alternative and innovative consumer products and services using wine in a variety of foods and beverages, as well as in beauty products.

Wine with a Conscience

Like all industries, the green movement has influenced the wine industry, evidenced by wines that are biodynamic, organic, sustainable, and marketed to support a cause. Biodynamic wines, such as Bonny Doon (California) and Marc Kreydenweiss (Alsace, France), are gaining popularity in both the United States and Europe. Wineberry is an eco-friendly wine packaged in a “wood box made from sustainable forests in Bordeaux” and contains four wine bottles that last up to six weeks. For a restaurant experience, The Tangled Vine Wine Bar & Kitchen in New York offers a 160-bottle list that classifies each selection as biodynamic, organic, or sustainable. Consumers who want to support a cause can purchase wine from CellarThief, an online retailer that “donates 100 days’ worth of clean water for every bottle of wine it sells.”


Social media too plays a key factor in the marketing of wine. Restaurants, wine bars and wine stores offer a multitude of educational and social wine-tasting events. Web sites such as Wine McGee list nationwide events by city, and social media sites such as LinkedIn have a selection of professional wine groups. Vino Volo is an interesting retail concept—located at airports and specifically designed for travelers, combining “a boutique retail store with a stylish tasting lounge and bar.” To educate consumers and simplify wine, uses a unique color and numbering system to identify different varieties. Consumers fill out a six question WineID test to determine their tastes, which is then added to their online profile for future use. Additionally, they offer a high tech feature that allows individuals to personalize their wine bottle with text, photo or video using a QR code read by a mobile phone camera.

Calling All Foodies

Shifting from drinking to dining, wine is appearing in unexpected food categories. Academie Culinary Wines offers four cooking blends to complement different food groups such as “Blend #2 for seafood, poultry, and pork.”

For cooks who want to experiment, the company has an online application that allows consumers to mix and match the four products to create their own custom blend. A spider map is produced to illustrate the new flavor profile. First Blush Juices are created from premium varietal wine grapes—Cabernet, Chardonnay, Syrah and Merlot. The juice has the benefits of grapes without the alcohol. Colorado Mountain Fine Wine Jellies features jellies made with different grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon (made with the Cabernet Sauvignon Wine of Spero Winery). Similar to wine jellies, Wine Cellar Sorbet tantalizes the palate with sorbets based on “finished wines from around the world.” Flavors range from Champagne to Riesling to Sake. The newest player is Resveratrol Winetime Nutrition Bar, which contains “resveratrol, the ingredient in grapes acclaimed for its ability to forestall the ravages of time.”

A Drop of Wine

Wine and grape seed extracts are the “in vogue” active ingredient, particularly popular in high end skin care launches and a few fine fragrances. For example, Dior partnered with the prestigious Chateau D’Yquem estate and created L’Or de Vie skin care using the extract of vines. Caudalie offers a vinotherapy skin care range based on patented technology that stabilizes grape seed polyphenols. Loisium Aveda Wine Spa in Austria features grape treatments such as a grape bath, wine skin peel, or grape essence treatment. For more affordable everyday products with grape seed extracts there is Merlot Skin Care and 29 Cosmetics.

In contrast to skin care, there have only been a handful of fine fragrance launches that use wine accords. It is surprising, considering the similarity between the two industries, specifically the language used to classify and describe the flavor and fragrance nuances. Recently, sommelier Katherine Marlowe collaborated with A Perfume Organic to create Perfumed Wine Rosé with “fresh berry, crisp apple, dark oaks, and rich spices.” This is the first of three expected releases. Brazil’s O Boticario company launched Barolo for Men last year; its core is based on “Barolo headspace and is produced with vinic alcohol.”

Wine and grape seed extracts will continue to be explored for their health properties as new delivery systems and alternative market segments are concurrently developed, creating opportunities for both the flavor and the fragrance industries.

Amy Marks-McGee, Trendincite LLC; [email protected]; 1-888-561-1229.

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