Winemaking Leftovers Become Inspired Snacks

Wild California Crisps is a new, healthy, baked snack made from flour milled from the seeds and skins of Sonoma County wine grapes. Created by brothers Mike and Tom Keefer, and friend Dan Brinker, the snack makes use of the winemaking residue known as pomace, which primarily ends in up landfills. Wineries produce pomace in large quantities, amounting to one ton for every five tons of grapes crushed.

The grape flour is sourced from WholeVine™ Products, owned by longtime friends Barbara Banke, widow of Jesse Jackson and chairperson of Jackson Family Wines, and Peggy Furth, former co-owner of Chalk Hill Estates & Vineyards. The milled flour produced from the pomace is high in nutrients and antioxidants.

The vineyard-sourced ingredients come from 100 percent certified sustainable California coastal vineyards owned by Sonoma-based Jackson Family Wines. Their company manufactures culinary grapeseed oil, gluten-free cookies, artisan wheat crackers, and grape skin-and-seed flour for baking, all of which are sold on the company website at wholevine.com and distributed throughout Northern California.

The Wild California Crisps were chosen as one of the eight trend-setting natural and organic products at San Francisco’s Fancy Foods Show. The Crisps are twice baked without oil, and are available in two flavors: Fruit N’ Nut and Apricot Ginger. I tried the Fruit N’ Nut version ($4.59 for 5 ounces), a savory blend of dried fruits, pistachios, rosemary, toasted seeds, and a touch of sea salt. Devoured on their own or spread with Brie, these are an addictive, wine-friendly snack.

Currently, the Wild California Crisps are only available at Irvine Ranch Market in Costa Mesa, and specialty markets in Northern California. Expect to see them soon at a grocer near you. The website is wildcalifornia.com.

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