Thursday, November 17, 2011

Have you used this wine byproduct?

I had never heard of it until a couple of years ago. One of the executives at China's Chateau Changyu AFIP told me they offered a grape seed oil spa at their European Village. So how do they process those tiny seeds? It must take millions for one spa.
I saw exactly how those seeds were gathered at Pernod Ricard's Helan Mountain winery in Ningxia province. After the winemaker has determined the juice has had enough skin/seed contact, these Cabernet Sauvignon grape skins and seeds are transported on a conveyor belt to this mesh wire tube to separate the skins from seeds.
The seeds are then spread out onto nearby streets to dry.
It's amazing what I learn hanging around Chinese wineries. Not only does Chateau AFIP use it, grape seed oil is actually a preferred cosmetic ingredient for control of skin moisturization. Since it's such a light, thin oil, it leaves a glossy TV-model-ready film on the skin. It's also used in aromatherapy. I've even heard some use grape seed oil as a lubricant for shaving.
But Chinese use it for cooking. Since grape seed oil has a moderately high smoke point, it is ideal for all the high temperature stir-frying cooking done in China.

And these little things actually have health benefits. Grape seeds contain antioxidants and sufficiently high amounts of resveratrol to be extracted commercially. Unfortunately, when cold pressed into an oil, negligible of these other biologically active compound remain.

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