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Vintage year: The organic beauty brand inspired by wine

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Georgina Wilson-Powell

16 February 2017

Those in the know, like Pfeffer Sal spa in London, are switching over to Vintner’s Daughter, an award-winning botanical serum that shows just what clean beauty can do. We track down its creator in California.

“To be honest I knew more about what I was cleaning my house with than what I was putting on my face,” says April Gargiulo, founder of cult, organic secret Vintner's Daughter. As the latest generation of a Napa Valley winegrower, she’d spent years helping to create the best wine she could. Then she spent two years turning that sustainable focus to skincare.

“I’m very much a farmer’s daughter and it is everything to the brand and the foundation of the company. The philosophies of fine wine-making are what I grew up with and learned, that was we talked about at the dinner table” she explains.

Vintners Daughter 3
“I was very conscious of sustainable farming and organic growing practices from my background but I had my head in the sand when it came to skincare”

Before Vintner’s Daughter, Gargiulo had never worked in the botanical or beauty industry. It was only when she was pregnant and wanted to make sure that everything she put on her skin was safe, she realised that actually very few skincare products - even the expensive mainstream brands - are free from chemicals.

“I was shocked to find out these very expensive potions were made from the cheapest ingredients and so many of them weren’t even active and that a lot of them were toxic,” Gargiulo says. “I was very conscious of sustainable farming and organic growing practices from my background but I had my head in the sand when it came to skincare.”

So she set out to make the purest, finest botanical powered skin serum that would help a range of issues from sensitive skin to acne, partnering with two organic beauty veterans.

“It’s helped that I’ve come from a fine wine background. I would always make the best thing possible, so that’s sourcing the most incredible ingredients, finding the best quality, making sure I get everything from all of these plants with no shortcuts - and that is the opposite of the beauty industry.”

Vintner’s Daughter uses 21 plant extracts including turmeric root oil (a super-charged anti-inflammatory) and seabuckthorn fruit (which contains Omegas 3, 6, 9 and the rare Omega 7) and sources them from the most organic and wildcrafted farms.

“It takes up to eight weeks to make a batch of active botanical serum – this isn’t like turning a tap on. It’s an agricultural product at the end of the day and so we have production limitations – but in wine-making you’re limited by the ground you have, so I’m used to that,” explains Gargiulo. “Sourcing is really critical to us and we value the relationships with our producers. It’s a constant challenge to understand how we can help them and what their limitations are.”

"I would always make the best thing possible and I make sure I get everything from all of these plants with no shortcuts - and that is the opposite of the beauty industry"

With wine-making in her genes, Gargiulo knows how important the quality of the ingredients are to the final product, as is not hurrying the production process.

“I’m Italian, so from my great grandfather onwards we’ve been farmers," she says. "My father moved into growing grapes and making wine and he was very much someone who stressed quality – if you wanted to make fine wine, quality was what you measured everything in – from the dirt you grow in, to the glass the wine goes into and no shortcuts. I remember making the first 500 bottles of the serum and thinking this has to be the best quality, because if no one else buys it, I have to use it.”

Just like her father, Gargiulo has even thought about her product's vessel, which uses dark violet glass that blocks out harmful rays to ensure the serum lasts longer and works better.

Crystal  Jasmin Vintners Daughter 1

There's no plan to go mass market - it takes eight weeks to make a batch of the botanical serum

And like a good fine wine, Gargiulo’s in no rush to increase her market share, those in the know love the serum and have bestowed many an award her way. Plant powered skincare or clean beauty is on the rise and even guys are getting in on her serum’s action.

“The product supports both women and men who wants something totally organic and natural but something that is quite aggressive in achieving results,” she says. “We will expand when we develop products that are as game-changing as the active botanical serum and we’ll take our time to do it. We’re in no rush. Our products have to be the very best.”

And talking of the best, what's the fine wine Gargiulo thinks Vintner’s Daughter equates to?

“It would be a first grown Bordeaux I think, but that doesn’t exactly capture it. Something that is focused on ancient process. We are ingredients driven and process obsessed.”

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