Bioflavia: red grape skin magic

Ever wonder what happens to all those grape skins and seeds (pomace) that are left behind after red wine production?

In some parts of the world they are watered down, refermented and distilled into a brandy of sorts called marc in France, and grappa in Italy. Sometimes they are used in vinous therapy as body wraps and baths. A lot of the time, they re simply recycled and distributed back onto the vineyards as fertilizer. Southbrook Vineyards of Niagara, has taken this residue a major step further and created an amazing new, health-related product with it, called Bioflavia.

Bill Redelmeier and wife Marilyn, owners of organically certified Southbrook Vineyards winery in Niagara are huge proponents of natural farming, and are industry leaders in organic and biodynamic wine growing. So it wasn’t surprising to see them come up with this concept when contemplating what else to do with this residue. Originally made to enhance the dough of the pizzas they make at the winery, they discovered the product contained high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are extremely valuable as they help slow down oxidation and cell deterioration caused by free radicals in our bodies and protect against cancers, heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cataracts, Alzheimer’s, advanced aging and autoimmune disorders.

For good health, Health Canada recommends seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetable daily to maintain our daily intake of these valuable antioxidants. A mere 10g of Bioflavia can provide a powerful antioxidant boost for the whole day. Not a substitute for eating fresh fruits and veggies, but a supplement!

How it is made is simple. This pomace is first dried out and the grape skins and seeds separated. Then the skins alone are dried again and milled into a fine powder and mixed with organic grape powder and Vitamin C.

The Redelmeiers have made a deal with almost all the organic wine growers in Niagara to obtain their organic pomace after fermentation, so they practically have a monopoly on the residue in the region.

As for its uses, you can simply mix it into yogurt and smoothies. Blend 1/4 cup of orange juice, 1/4 cup non-fat yogurt, 1 tbsp (10g) Bioflavia, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1/4 banana and four to five ice cubes in a blender for a Sunrise Smoothie that is not only delicious, but super nutritious. Sprinkle it over salads and cereals. Try it in baking. Great in pizza dough as the Redelmeiers did, or as an ingredient in breads, pastries, cookies, muffins, brownies, cakes, pies, etc. Blend it in stews, casseroles, gravies and sauces. Its applications are pretty much endless. One thing is certain, you’ll be doing your body a huge favour and it will thank you.

With Robert Egli, on board as Director of Sales and Marketing, the Redelmeiers are hoping for big things from Bioflavia. So much so that they went on the hit TV show The Dragon’s Den to pitch the idea to the pros for investment. All the ‘dragons’ were enthralled with the product, but Arlene Dickinson, in particular, known for her extreme interest in  green  and eco-conscious products, was all over the idea and, on-air, offered to invest in it. At press time, Bill Redelmeier informed me he was still in negotiations with her. Jim Treliving, owner and CEO of Boston Pizza was tempted, but backed off. A huge mistake in my book! Not only is this a potentially multi-million dollar product, but just think about the marketing panache of having the only, chain-wide, commercial pizza in the world with this amazing antioxidant product in it. The others declined for various reasons.

Whatever, the future of this beneficial product, I believe the Redelmeiers are really onto something here. Available in a 300g canister for $29.95 at the winery or select retailers throughout Canada, go to or for more details.

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