Scientists have confirmed recently what some beauticians have known for years—wine can turn back the body’s clock. In the early 1990s, a pharmacology professor at the University of Bordeaux found that grape seeds are rich in antioxidants, which fight free radicals and aging. In 1993, a French company, Caudalie, drew upon these findings to launch a line of grape- and wine-based skin care products. The company later opened Les Sources de Caudalie, a full spa offering a plethora of wine-based baths, wraps, massages, and scrubs in the middle of—where else?—a vineyard near Bordeaux.
While the truly devoted may settle for nothing less than a three-day immersion in the fruits of the vine, there are plenty of options closer to home. Spas and salons throughout the United States have adopted the principles of “vinotherapy” to craft their own wine-based treatments.
Wine barrel soak: Most wine soaks involve various combinations of wine marc, grape seed and stalk extracts, and natural oils, which work together to balance and revitalize the skin. The Stonehedge Inn in Massachusetts offers a 50-minute barrel soak with French chardonnay grape seed extract, pomegranate, and aloe vera, topped off with the spa’s Chardonnay body butter or moisturizer. (stonehedgeinn.com. tel: 978.649.4400)
Manicure/pedicure: Wine and grape seed oil are excellent emollients, making them an ideal base for nail treatments. Just Calm Down spa in Manhattan offers a manicure/pedicure that uses an oatmeal, grape and grape seed oil scrub to exfoliate the skin, and a red wine and grape seed oil soak to revitalize and soften the skin and nails. Spa owner Tara Oolie eschewed the traditional line of chairs and whirlpools in favor of a more indulgent—and private—experience in which the whirlpools are replaced by Tuscan foot bowls; the event takes place within the confines of a Moroccan tent. (justcalmdownspa.com. tel: 212.337.0032)
Body scrub: The exfoliating properties of grape seeds and the antioxidants in wine combine to form scrubs that improve circulation and rejuvenate and fortify the skin. Calistoga Ranch in Upper Napa Valley offers a Cabernet Classic body scrub made with crushed grape seeds simmered in wine. The scrub is topped off with a grape seed oil massage. (calistogaranch.com. tel: 707.254.2800)
Meredith McGroarty is a freelance writer and editor living in New York City.
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