Shared Passion for Winemaking and Sustainability Propelled Our Women-Owned Business to Produce Upcycled Ingredient

Shared Passion for Winemaking and Sustainability Propelled Our Women-Owned Business to Produce Upcycled Ingredient
Women-owned businesses have successfully paved the way to change lives and solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. An extraordinary example involves two of the most influential winemakers in the world, who are as passionate about sustainability as they are about wine.

Barbara Banke and Peggy Furth, founders of WellVine

For the past decade, longtime friends and experienced wine industry executives, Barbara Banke and Peggy Furth, have sponsored research into discovering the highest and best use for wine grapes after they have been pressed for wine.

The result?

Barbara and Peggy have built a team that is capturing the vibrancy of whole wine grapes in an ingredient that will one day enhance many different products, and that has the potential to improve human health and perhaps even increase food security.

WellVine: The “Fruits” of Extensive Research Efforts

Typically, wine grapes are composted or used as animal feed to minimize the negative impacts of food waste going to the landfill. However, Barbara and Peggy’s research efforts validated that pressed wine grapes could also be used as a better-for-you, delicious and sustainable co-product. The result of these efforts is WellVine, a woman-owned business with deep expertise in winemaking and sustainability.

Barbara and Peggy have pioneered the development of WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc a co-product of winemaking that comprises the fruit that remains after the crush. Whole pressed grapes are dried and milled into this upcycled ingredient that has high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients like flavanols and fiber that contribute to gut and heart health.

While other small operations develop upcycled food products like grapeseed oils and extracts—mostly from spent grape seeds—WellVine is the first and only company to make whole grape products from wine grapes at scale.

There is scientific evidence that WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc can contribute to a healthier gut and cardiovascular system, based on a multi-year research effort by the company, the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and the University of California Davis (UC Davis).

WellVine’s first commercial venture incorporates WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc in a premium consumer product, Vine to Bar chocolate. Chardonnay marc brings a vibrancy to Vine to Bar products that softens the dark chocolate’s bitter edge, and the result is premium dark chocolate with a flavor that is balanced by the natural, wine grape-derived fruitiness.

Vine to Bar premium chocolate contains 15% WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc by weight. The product range features almonds, Himalayan pink salt, chardonnay smoked salt, tart cherry and cocoa nib inclusions. In addition, the products are plant-based, non-GMO verified and contain cacao sourced primarily from West Africa and South America that is certified for sustainability and positive social impact by Cocoa Horizons Foundation. This blended chocolate comes from Barry Callebaut, the world’s premier supplier of fine chocolate.

Immersing Chardonnay Marc into a Wealth of Co-Products

As WellVine continues to grow its brand and product portfolio, the company aims to become a leading source of plant-based nutrition and a singular example of how upcycling food waste is the best and most noble use of a global food source.

In fact, later this year, consumers will be able to enjoy a powdered mix of WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc and high-flavanol cocoa for use in smoothies and drinks. This blend will deliver clinically studied levels of flavanols recently shown in the COSMOS trial to provide benefits for heart and brain. Most importantly, however, WellVine Chardonnay marc can stand with the best of foods that are both good for you and taste good!