Nutritional and Sensory Value of Upcycled Chardonnay Grapes Recognized in Two Scientific Papers

Superfood Ingredient WellVine™ Chardonnay Marc

Offers Healthful, Flavorful Benefits and is Lower in Sugar

(Santa Rosa, Calif., Feb. 20, 2023) Two recent scientific papers document the health and flavor benefits of upcycled Chardonnay wine grapes. Branded WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc, the ingredient is derived from freshly harvested, pressed wine grapes that, once dried and milled, contain beneficial nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, flavanols, and magnesium. It also has a unique flavor with notes of fruit and a hint of natural sweetness that is lower in sugar.

“From the outset, our goal has been to create something that is seldom found -- an upcycled food that tastes as good as it is good for you,” said Peggy Furth, cofounder of Northern California-based Sonomaceuticals, a research and development company focused on upcycling wine grapes. “Studies now confirm that WellVine Chardonnay Marc offers all of the goodness of fresh fruit, without all of the sugar, and emerging data on the nutritional benefits exceeds our initial expectations.”

Scientists are now documenting the degree to which Chardonnay grapes contribute to gut health as a prebiotic, promote cardiovascular health, and help maintain normal blood sugar. WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc is available as a superfood ingredient for innovative food manufacturers seeking to add nutritious benefits to culinary products, and is a component in two consumer products: Vine to Bar™ Chocolates and a soon-to-be-released dietary supplement, Healthy Vine™ Superfood Powder.

Recently Published Studies Confirm Sensory Benefits

Previous research documented the nutritional value of flavanols and oligosaccharides found in fresh pressed wine grapes. Two research papers published recently promote the functional properties and flavor of grape marc.

In November 2022, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published the team’s review paper Chardonnay Marc as a New Model for Upcycled Co-products in the Food Industry: Concentration of Diverse Natural Products Chemistry for Consumer Health and Sensory Benefits. The authors are Roberta R. Holt, Daniela Barile, Selina C. Wang, John P. Munafo Jr., Torey Arvik, Xueqi Li, Fanny Lee, Carl L. Keen, Ilias Tagkopoulos, and Harold H. Schmitz.

The paper provides insights into potential health benefits associated with diets rich in plant-based natural products (PBNPs), including WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc. In addition to health benefits, PBNPs can drive flavor and sensory perceptions in foods and beverages. Recent research reveals that PBNP diversity within WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc has potential relevance to human health and desirable sensory attributes in food and beverage products. This review explores the potential of WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc as a valuable new PBNP ingredient in the food system by combining health, sensory, and environmental sustainability benefits that serves as a model for development of future ingredients within a sustainable circular bioeconomy. The research calls Chardonnay marc an “underutilized source of PBNPs.”

In December 2022, the American Chemical Society Journal published the paper Characterization of Key Odorants in Chardonnay Seeds by Sarah Warner and John P. Munafo Jr. The research examines the contribution of seeds to the overall aroma of Chardonnay marc by identifying 43 odorants in the seeds. This analysis establishes a foundation for future studies aimed at optimizing the flavor of Chardonnay marc powder. The paper states that “Chardonnay marc has been emerging as a healthy and flavorful food ingredient.”

About Sonomaceuticals

Sonomaceuticals is a research company founded by wine industry experts Barbara Banke, founder of Jackson Family Wines, and Peggy Furth, formerly of Chalk Hill, who began exploring the value of pressed wine grapes as an underutilized asset in the winemaking business. After grapes are pressed for wine, about 20 percent (seed, skins and stems) is not used in the fermentation process. The Sonomaceuticals team believed that byproduct -- called grape marc or pomace -- could be upcycled into a nutritious ingredient, and initially experimented with selling flours, oils and baked goods containing the grape marc. 

The R&D effort includes scientists at the University of California, Davis, with Professor Harold Schmitz as scientific advisor, in collaboration with experts and researchers across the country from the USDA, University of Tennessee (Knoxville), and Iowa State University. Research includes the unique benefits of pressed Chardonnay grapes and how best to preserve Chardonnay’s unique sensory and nutritional value. WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc, derived exclusively from the grapes of the Coastal and Mountain vineyards of Jackson Family Wines, is the result of that exploration, which has validated the superior nutritional and sensory benefits of Chardonnay grapes in particular. 

About WellVine Chocolate, LLC

WellVine™ Coastal Chardonnay Marc is the result of more than a decade of effort to valorize the superb culinary and nutritive value of pressed wine grapes, and to capture that superfood potential in a versatile ingredient, while at the same time helping to provide greater sustainability and improve food security through winemaking – one of the world’s oldest and most important food industries. At harvest, winemakers dry and mill the spent skins, pulp and seeds of grapes into a pomace using a proprietary process that preserves the fiber and flavor. There’s scientific evidence that Chardonnay Marc can contribute to a healthier gut and cardiovascular system, based on a multi-year research effort by WellVine, the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and the University of California Davis (UC Davis). For more on the science behind visit the WellVine website., visit