Southbrook Vineyards’ Bioflavia
Project lead: Bill Redelmeier
“There is no waste,” says Southbrook, transforming 10 tonnes of formerly disposed-of organic pomace (grape skins and seeds) into Bioflavia, a unique antioxidant-rich nutritional product valued at $500,000, now being sold world-wide.
Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier were early adopters of organics and sustainability. Their Southbrook Vineyards, 150 acres in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Ontario, was Canada’s first certified biodynamic winery and is LEED Gold certified. Looking for ways to convert waste into something valuable came naturally.
Take pomace, for example–“spent” skins left over after grapes have been crushed to make wine. Wineries typically threw it out, and indeeed referred to it as “wine waste.”
Bioflavia starts with pomace, “spent” organic red wine grapeskins.
To the Redelmeiers, the much-touted health benefits of red wine suggested there might be similar benefits to the skins of the red-wine grapes themselves. So they removed the seeds, milled the dried skins into a fine powder, mixed in a minuscule amount of organic grape juice powder and Vitamin C for taste and sent it to a lab.
Sure enough, the lab showed pomace was high in fibre and vitamin C. Better yet, it was full of antioxidants. In fact, the level of antioxidants found in the Redelmeiers’ pomace powder was higher than that in all other antioxidant-rich food sources. Their product–they named it Bioflavia–was an antioxidant powerhouse.
No startup is easy, and Bill Redelmeier knew to question the financial viability of creating an organic health product. But he wouldn’t turn his back on Boioflavia. He and his team took over the research and development with a $100,000 investment. In March 2011, they submitted product test findings to Health Canada and, that October, received their “NPN Number” indicating Bioflavia had been approved by Health Canada as a Natural Health Product for sale in Canada. Their $100,000 had yielded a process that could turn 10 tonnes of “waste” plant material into a product with a retail value of about $500,000.
Companies are increasingly looking for natural products with simple ingredients. Made with the organic source material the Redelmeiers produced as a winemaking byproduct, Bioflavia reached its market with a major challenge, the high level of pesticides present in traditionally sourced grape skins, already overcome. Bioflavia’s potential as an antioxidant-rich supplement to smoothies, juice and other food products was clear.
Potentially a significant product for Canadian agriculture and manufacturing, Bioflavia is currently being evaluated for reformulation with other products by a number of North American food-service companies.
In April 2011, Bioflavia was picked by up the largest health-food distribution company in Canada and began to appear on retailers’ shelves. Today, it’s carried in more than 500 stores across the country. It’s distributed in Singapore, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and France. U.S. distribution is in the works and other global markets are expressing interested. Back in the Niagara Peninsula, the Redelmeiers have hired three full-time staff to purchase all of the organic pomace in Ontario and are looking to import more from Chile.
To find more about Bioflavia, please visit