December 18, 2007

Soak in Wine? It's Vinotherapy


Holidays have you feeling harried and exhausted? Pour a glass of wine — or try slathering it on your body instead. Inspired by the high levels of antioxidants found in grapes, companies have been infusing skincare products with all manner of grape extracts, citing research that suggests the compounds can protect skin from the effects of aging. The oil is a terrific moisturizer, and the ground- up seeds make for gentle buffing creams. Here's a selection of some of the best to get you started on a vinotherapy regime.

Caudalie: Caudalie defined vinotherapy with its spa in Bordeaux, France, opened in 1999. There, you can soak in a Jacuzzi-powered wine barrel, relax with a honey-and-wine yeast-wrap, enjoy a massage with grape seed oil, and then go for a walk in the vineyards. Now, you only have to go as far as Sonoma, Calif., where Kenwood Vineyards has opened a Caudalie Spa. Or you can have the products delivered to your door. The Moisturizing Cream-Mask ($40 per 1.6 oz) is particularly good at keeping winter's drying effects at bay. kenwoodinn.com; 707-833-1293; caudalie-usa.com

Appellation Spa: Attention skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts: Appellation Spa's Muscle Soak ($32.50 per 14.5 oz.) combines grape seed extracts with arnica, an herb used to relieve muscle soreness, invigorating eucalyptus, warming ginger and lots of clove, among other herbs and spices. Sprinkle the pink crystals over a hot bath and let the aches melt away. appellation.cc

Demeter Fragrance Library's Champagne Brut: As far as I'm concerned, the mere scent of Champagne is vinotherapy. Marilyn Monroe must have agreed: She's said to have once bathed in 350 bottles of it. Those of us who don't have such budgets can splash on Demeter's lightly sweet Champagne Brut fragrance ($20 per 1-oz. spray or $5 per 1/2-oz. cologne splash). Bonus: The new, warmly spiced Egg Nog fragrance offers a low-cal way to indulge in one of the season's richest treats. DemeterFragrance.com; 800-482-0422

The Grapeseed Co.: Kristen Fraser Cotte's Lemon Cake Sugar Scrub smells good enough to eat ($9 per 4 ounces); the Mojito Man shaving line will make the men around you smell good enough to drink. In fact, you probably could eat a little of each with no ill effects, as the ingredients are all-natural, sourced as much as possible from Santa Barbara's wine country, where the company is based. Grapeseed company.com; 805-456-3655

The Body Shop: The Body Shop's Grapeseed line is one of the few that actually smells something like wine — the unguents have honeyed, lightly floral tones that recall muscat. The soap-free facial wash ($10 per 3.4 oz) is creamy and gentle; the Extra Rich Night Cream ($14 per 1.7 oz) lives up to its name. If you act quickly, you may be able to buy some of the Grapeseed Body Butter, which is on sale for $3 per 1.7 ounce tub at thebodyshop.com.

Davi: Your man may scoff at vinotherapy until you slip him some products from Davi. Run by Carlos Mondavi, Robert Mondavi's grandson, Davi offers a full line of men's grape-infused goods, from a heavily aromatic shaving cream ($25 per 5.9 oz) to a Grande Reserve face cream that's priced higher than Mondavi's Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. ($175 per 2.1 oz) daviskin.com

Avon: Vinotherapy can be an expensive habit. Enter Avon, with its new Planet Spa line of grape-infused products. The Crushed Grape Seed Body Polisher ($9.50 for 250 ml) smells a little bubble-gummy but buffs the skin to a smooth silkiness; the soft, jelly-like Crushed Grape Foot Soak ($6.50 for 175 ml) offers an invigorating mix of cooling menthol and exfoliating grape seed particles, especially appreciated after a long day of shopping. Avon.com; 800-FOR-AVON


This article first appeared in the Denver Post.

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