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The English wine skincare brand you have to try

Pelegrims uses by-product ingredients from wine made at Westwell in Kent for its new skincare line

Fans of French beauty brand Caudalie may well be familiar with the use of vine and grape extracts in skincare. Co-founder Mathilde Thomas, whose parents owned Château Smith Haut Lafitte wine estate in Bordeaux, developed the brand following an encounter with world-class polyphenols specialist, Professor Vercauteren.

Mathilde and her husband Bertrand discovered that grape seeds contain the most powerful antioxidants in the world and that grapevine sap, usually thrown away after harvest, was packed full of viniferine, which is 62 times more effective than vitamin C. They launched three vine and grape extract-based skin products in 1993, along the first Vinothérapie spa.

With the growth in English wine production in recent years, it was only a matter of time before something similar was launched on British soil. Enter Pelegrims, a new premium skincare brand, which takes by-product ingredients from wines made at Westwell vineyard, near Ashford, to create exceptionally potent, antioxidant-rich skincare, designed to rejuvenate, repair and replenish the skin.

Inspired by the old English name for the Pilgrims Way in the North Downs in Kent, where the grape by-products are sourced, Pelegrims prides itself in the adventure, discovery and uncertainty of seasonal and vintage variations.

The brainchild of Alex Verier, former director at Haeckels skincare and sommelier-trained Jerome Moisan, the products are formulated, trialled and manufactured in a lab just 20 minutes from the vineyard – each vintage a limited edition from that year’s harvest.

“Our intention is to formulate low intervention, active skincare formulations that work in harmony with the skin supporting it to heal and rejuvenate itself,” explains Alex. “Sustainability is hugely important to us, so using waste products from the wine-making process and harnessing the powerful grape extracts are at the core of our brand and our future research.”

The first capsule collection has been made from Westwell’s 2020 harvest of Pinot Noir and Ortega grapes and includes a facial oil (£49) and nourishing facial balm (£45), as well as an exfoliating hand cleanser (£19) and hand pomade (£20). There is also an exploration case containing 10ml sizes of the pomade, oil and balm (£31), for when you’re on the go.  

The facial products both feature Pinot Noir grape extract, which contains high levels of Polyphenols such as Resveratrol, Flavanoids, Xanthophylls and Carotene, as well as vitamins which help to soothe and revitalise all skin types.

One application of the facial oil on freshly cleansed skin instantly reduces redness, while the balm, although seemingly quite thick when squeezed from the aluminium tube, absorbs into the skin instantly, leaving a visibly smooth effect.

Soft, supple skin thanks to wine? We always knew wine wasn’t just good for the soul!