When you think of sustainability and using “every last drop” of something, generally you think of something like energy or water. Fortunately, there are people like Peggy Furth, co-founder of WholeVine Products, who marry the principles of sustainability and zero waste with food and drink.
Located in Napa Valley Wine Country, WholeVine takes the scraps, skins, seeds and general muck—officially known as “pumice”—leftover from the wine making process, then turns it into ingenious and tasty products. Founded in 2009 and using Jackson Family pumice as a base, they have created a line of grape seed oils from different grape varietals, and some delicious, gluten-free flour made from an extrusion of the pumice. They are working on other products too, including gorgeous all-natural food colorings made from- you guessed it- grape skins. Sound high tech? It is. WholeVine has no less than 4 PhD’s either on staff or as consulting scientists.
Fortunately, their flavored oils and signature line of baked goods taste anything but high tech. On a recent press lunch at Alfalfa’s (the exclusive place to find their goods outside of California) WholeVine laid out a spread including pizza, salads, cakes, popcorn and even a baked chicken dish, each with an ingredient from their vine-based products, as well as their packaged cookies and oils. Honestly, they have something here. No gluten? No worries, you don’t pay a sensory price. To the contrary, using, say, flour made from rich purple Syrah grapes provides an unexpectedly pleasing surprise for your tongue, and your eyes. From a company that donates a portion of the proceeds to children in need, the reasons for not trying their products are indeed slim.
Learn more at wholevine.com, but if you are into pleasure and experiential learning, pick up some of their peanut butter cookies, or Cabernet grape seed oil at Alfalfa’s and school yourself the old fashioned way. Sustainability never tasted so good.
~Allan Parr for EatDrinkBoulder