Get to Know the Founder of Cult Skincare Favorite Vintner's Daughter

Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum in its violet glass bottle.Situated on the eastern side of Oakville, Gargiulo Vineyards has made a name for itself among oenophiles and restaurateurs (French Laundry, Meadowood and Le Toque are all customers) with its single-vineyard, estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2012, April Gargiulo, daughter of the winery’s founders Jeff and Valerie Gargiulo, was on a quest for a nontoxic, preservative-free product that would calm her sensitive skin but still be still high-performance. Like her family before her, she found her answer in the land. After a two-year research and formulation process, Gargiulo launched Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, a balancing, all-natural face oil crafted of 22 nutrient-rich flowers, herbs, extracts and oils.

The product has become a cult favorite, earning glowing reviews from users and media ranging from Vogue to Fast Company. “There is a shared philosophy between our winemaking and the business of beauty,” says Gargiulo. “There are no short cuts, and we take the time—and spend the money—to create the finest product.”

This month, Vintner’s Daughter launches an autoship replenishment program, delivering product to devoted users every eight, 10 or 12 weeks. “People tend to share our serum— couples, even teens—so it doesn’t last forever. I like to think of our product as the most pristine, enhancing diet for the skin,” says Gargiulo.

Vintner's Daughter founder April Gargiulo.Composed of some of the most nutritionally dense plants in the world—“all sourced from conscious growers, which is important to me because of my farming background,” says Gargiulo—Vintner’s Daughter is a salve for tired, sensitive, acne-or rosacea-prone skin. Ingredients including carrot seed oil from France, hazelnut from the Piedmont region of Italy, bergamot from Puglia, and local dandelion and grape seed oil are combined. As with the winemaking process, timing is everything: Whole plants are taken through a production cycle in temperature-controlled environments at particular times of the year in small, carefully curated batches, each of which takes 10 full weeks to create.

Even the serum’s packaging plays on the winemaker’s sensibility. Gargiulo chose sleek dark violet Miron glass bottles—glass that filters out a specific light spectrum to protect the botanicals—and a clean, bold label design reminiscent of the family’s Cabernet packaging. Gargiulo notes she wanted a look for Vintner’s Daughter that was “timeless, understated and beautiful, much like the women who use it.”

A slow and steady approach is the Vintner’s Daughter mantra, and for now, there are no immediate product launches or mega-marketing plans in the works. “I think a simple program is often the most effective,” says Gargiulio. “I like to think that we’re couture vs. ready-to-wear,” she adds, “and just like the highest end of fashion, we’re committed to working with the finest materials, and the best artisans who use age-old techniques.”

We’ll drink to that.  

A version of this article appeared in the November/December 2016 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: More Than Skin Deep.