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If Cleopatra could rationalize bathing in milk and honey – and since then baths have been filled with all sorts of different elements, from ground oatmeal to herbs and spices – we really shouldn’t be surprised at the idea of bathing in a bottle of Merlot – or in this case, Tinta Barocca. Enter vinotherapy, the latest in luxurious – but scientific – spa treatments.

As it turns out, there are various benefits to immersing your body in the extracts of the vine, not the least of which is benefitting from its anti-aging and free-radical fighting effects.

Where does Vinotherapy come from?

To quote the woman partly responsible for modernising this particular treatment and getting science to back it, “In my vineyard, when the vine cries, the faces of women illuminate.”

Mathilde Thomas, founder of cult skincare brand Caudalie – grew up on a wine farm in Bordeaux, France, called Chateaux Smith Haut Lafitte. This is where the idea of using grapes as part of an anti-aging regime – as well as bathing in wine – has its roots. She loved the idea of using polyphenols contained within the grapes as part of skincare, as they have immense free-radical fighting properties. Moreover, polyphenols also protect the skin against oxidation and preserve the levels of hyaluronic acid.

By making use of various extracts of the vine, Thomas worked to develop a treatment known today as vinotherapy, where grape pips, seeds, and juice are used to exfoliate, cleanse and nourish the skin.

Speaking to Cosmetic Business, she explained how she and her husband started a close collaboration with Dr. Vercauteren with the aim of harnessing the anti-aging properties of the grape seeds. Head of the polyphenol group at the University of Pharmacy in Bordeux, Dr Vercauteren is responsible for revealing the antioxidant powers of grape seeds to Thomas.

How does the treatment work?

We spoke to Mimmie Lancaster, manager of the spa at Santé Wellness Retreat and Spa in Paarl, South Africa, in order to find out more about this treatment. Mimmie proudly mentions that Santé owns the trademark for vinotherapy in South Africa and that the Spa offers vinotherapy as a signature treatment to guests. The cosmetic company that supplies Santé with the grape & grape seed extract uses only grapes that are both pesticide- and chemical-free. This is a crucial element when it comes to vinotherapy, Mimmie explains because the body absorbs certain trace elements. As such, it is important to make use of only organic produce when performing the treatment.

Step 1: Exfoliation

The treatment starts off with a crushed grapeseed extract blended into the base, which includes grapeseed oil. This is used to perform a body exfoliation in order to rid the skin of the build-up of dead cells, as well as to soften the skin. After being exfoliated in this manner, the skin is also more able to absorb active vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.

Step 2: 20-Minute Soak

After the exfoliation, the guest enters the bath, which is filled with freeze-dried grape skin, grape pulp, and grapeseed extract, together with a bottle of Tinta Barroca wine from the owners’ farm – called Tranquility. For the next 20 minutes or so, the guest will relax, submerged in the bath, while the skin benefits from the high polyphenol content in the wine and extract. Polyphenols are known for their free-radical fighting ability.

Step 3: shower and massagevinotherapy | Longevity LIVE

After the bath therapy, the guests will get out of the bath and rinse off the wine in a warm shower – and then they will enjoy either a full-body massage, performed with grapeseed oil or a body wrap, where once again everything of the grape is used, along with essential oils. This is usually also followed by a massage.

“Does the treatment come with a straw?”

Before you ask this – as Mimmie admits many would-be guests often do – after this treatment, guests at the Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa are offered a glass of wine to accompany the treatment and are offered as part of their signature treatments. The food that guests will enjoy as part of the treatment is also prepared according to the principles of the concept behind vinotherapy, which is fighting free-radical damage and exposing the body only to wholesome, healthy, natural, and in-season foods.

Who should try vinotherapy?

Because this treatment works to fight the effects of oxidation, sun damage as well as aging, while promoting revitalized and nourished skin, those who wish to treat their skin to some serious pampering will most enjoy this.

Vinotherapy can help to treat skin that is very dry, has been damaged by the sun, or is immune-compromised, as the components found in the grape, seeds, and extracts thereof can assist with the healing, moisturising, and nourishing of the skin,” she says. 

Where is it available?

vinotherapy | Longevity LIVE

Branching out rapidly from its French roots, vinotherapy is now becoming more and more popular, so as well as being available at Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa in South Africa, is also available in countries such as Spain, California in the US and Australia. Click here to find out more about this.

There’s nothing more satisfying than looking and feeling your best, with healthy, glowing skin to match.


Johane du Toit

Johane du Toit

Johané du Toit is a content specialist and freelance editor for Longevity Magazine. With an Honours degree in journalism from the North-West University at Potchefstroom, she has a keen interest in medical and scientific innovations and aspires to provide the public with the latest reliable news in the fields of medicine, fitness, wellness, and science. Johane is happiest outdoors, preferably near a large body of water or in the mountains, and loves waterskiing, cooking, travelling and reading.


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