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Dr. Joseph's Oil (August 17, 2004)

The residue from winemaking called "pomace" – the seeds, stems and pips of grapes – is either distilled to make grappa or marc, spread on the vineyards as fertilizer, or thrown away. But a winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, has found another lucrative way of using it. Joe Pohorly, who owns Joseph's Estate Wines, has developed a new luxury product from grape seeds.

Porohly is extracting the oil from the seeds by a cold-press technique he has invented, bottling it in 100-millilitre bottles and selling it for $40 a piece.

Joe Pohorly, a civil engineer with a PhD in environmental engineering management, has been in the wine business for thirty years. He created one of Ontario's first cottage wineries, called Newark (the old name for Niagara-on-the-Lake), and subsequently sold the enterprise to Hillebrand Estates. After a stint of hotel management, Pohorly purchased a 20-acre farm a short walk from Hillebrand and converted it into vineyards. His winery now produces 32,000 cases a year.

On a trip to Florida in 1998 he saw bottles of Italian grape seed oil on a winery shelf, and that gave him an idea. On his return to Canada he began researching what was done with the pomace from Ontario's grape tonnage, which averages some 50,000 tonnes a year. He discovered that grape seeds are natural anti-oxidants as well as having nutritional value. Since grape seeds make up 30–40% of the solid residue from winemaking, he saw a business opportunity.

But the grape seeds' fatty acids that help the body to control cholesterol levels are destroyed when extracted by chemical solvents or a heat process, methods employed by the large manufacturers for maximum extraction.

It took Pohorly five years' research and a $25,000 investment to come up with his own cold press method to extract the oil without destroying the oil's nutritive and health-giving value.

He calls the product Dr. Joseph's Grape Seed Oil.

 

 

 

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