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The Grape Escape

Contact Author By Cathy Christensen July 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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I recently enjoyed a brief, yet amazing, escape to Sonoma—at the hands of LeeAnn Davis, an incredibly skilled esthetician at Nurture, the spa at the Luxor Las Vegas. Upon entering the spa, I was feeling the kind of tired that only Las Vegas supplies, and Nurture was not the dark, cavernous, cool spa that I expected from the Luxor. Instead, it was a breath of fresh air—light, energetic and welcoming—mirroring Davis’ disposition, which promised the perfect transition from hectic to heavenly. The Escape to Sonoma service I enjoyed is a body treatment that focuses solely on the grape seed and begins with a warm, calmingly fragrant grape seed oil full body massage. Next, a sea salt and grape seed body scrub left my skin silky and smooth. After a quick shower, my escape was completed with a moisturizing wine body wrap that boasted the aroma of a fine Chablis. I was a new woman.

In the kitchen

Grape seed extracts and oils are beneficial in every application, from cuisine to skin care to health care, due in large part to their antioxidant content. In the culinary setting, grape seed oil is used in salad dressings, marinades, deep frying and baking. It also can be utilized in stir-fries, sautéing and fondue, and has a clean, light, nutty taste.1

In fact, the Kohler Waters Spa in Kohler, Wisconsin, recently changed all of its salad dressings to a grape seed oil base, and Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah, features Pan Seared North American Elk with Kiln Dried Cherries, Black Walnuts and Port Wine Jus. Similarly, the Elmwood Spa in Toronto, offers Steak Frites with Red Wine Jus as an entrée on its spa cuisine menu. In a refreshing twist, The Spa at Grand Velas All Suites and Spa Resort in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, offers a colorful and healthy starter that features balsamic-marinated vegetables with eggplant mayonnaise, focaccia, mixed greens and fresh grapes. For another perfect summer recipe, see Chicken Pomona Salad from executive chef Frank DiDomenico, Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

In the spa

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In skin care treatments and products, grape seeds and their oil are a multitasking must-have. The oil can be used in massage oil, sunburn repair lotion, body creams, hand creams and lip balms, and the seeds are an incredible, aromatic exfoliant. The oil is perfect for treating damaged and stressed tissues due to its regenerative and restructuring qualities, resulting in better control of skin’s moisture. Grape seed oil also is a great carrier oil for aromatherapy treatments.1

An ingredient indigenous to California’s wine country, many spas feature grape-flavored treatments on their menus. In Temecula, California, the Grapeseed Spa at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa features a variety of grape seed-based treatments, including the signature Gorgeous Grapeseed Facial, which is customized to the clients’ needs. The Rutherford, California-based Auberge Du Soliel’s four hour-long Opus utilizes the grape seed throughout—via steam, exfoliation, body mask, massage oil and facial. In Sonoma, California, the Garden Spa at MacArthur Place offers Sonoma Wine Therapy, which includes a chardonnay sugar scrub, bath and essential oil massage. The Grape de vine treatment at the Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore, in Santa Barbara, California, extracts toxins within the body through an exfoliation using grape seeds. Other areas of the country are discovering grape seed services, as well. A large variety of Grape-Seed Signature Sessions are available at Finger Lakes Wellness Center & Health Spa in Bath, New York. At Zi Spa & Salon in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the Vino Journey features grape seed throughout, including an oil hair conditioning treatment and grape seed teabags to rejuvenate the eyes. The Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams experience at Relâche Spa at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, features products made largely from grape extract to get the skin ready for warmer weather.
Professional product lines also are capitalizing on the skin-loving benefits of the grape. Skin Fitness’s Red Wine Collagen Enhancer Line stimulates and redefines skin, promoting repair and renewal. Red Wine Skin Enhancing Gel from Shantel Medical Supply soothes and revitalizes the skin without irritation. Olavie’s Le Vin Wine Therapy Antioxidant Body Care contains chardonnay grape seed extracts for skin revitalization, protection and care, and Korres Natural Products’ Grape Seeds Body Scrub efficiently removes dead cells and regenerates the skin.

The fruits of your labor

This tasty and aromatic wonder food is good for you in many different ways. Encourage your clients to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor by featuring the grape and its miracle seeds in a variety of ways on your spa treatment and cuisine menus.


    (All accessed on April 24, 2007.)

Chicken Pomona Salad

From Executive Chef Frank DiDomenico at Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

Makes 12 servings.


    6 chicken breasts
    2 cups Chardonnay
    1/4 teaspoon basil
    Kosher salt

Steam the chicken breasts in the wine and herbs until cooked thoroughly. Cube when cooled.

    2 tablespoons chopped chives
    1 1/3 cup toasted almonds
    1 cup sliced red grapes
    2 green apples, diced
    1 cup raisins

Mix the above ingredients together with the chicken, then add the following:

    1 cup plain yogurt
    2/3 cup mayonnaise
    3/4 teaspoon curry
    2 teaspoons cumin
    1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    2 teaspoons dried tarragon
    2 teaspoons salt

To finish, serve this salad formed and topped with the following:

    Toasted coconut
    Diced fresh pineapple