Winery’s left-over skins turned into crisps

3rd July, 2014 by Lauren Eads

A baked snack made from “grape flour” milled from the seeds and skins of Sonoma County grapes is making waves on the US snack scene.

wild-california

Dan Brinker, left, and brothers Mike and Tom Keefer.

Wild California Crisps was founded by two brothers, Mike and Tom Keefer, and childhood friend Dan Brinker, who decided to put their thinking caps on to create a healthy new baked snack to compete with America’s typically salty, fried alternatives.

With an abundance of discarded grape skins and seeds in Sonoma, which often end up in the landfill, the trio hit upon an idea to make their own ‘grape flour’ to produce their Wild California Crisps in two flavours; Fruit N’ Nut and Apricot Ginger.

And its not just any old grape skins that are used to create the signature snack.

Its grape flour, which accounts for around 7% of the product, is sourced from a company owned by Barbara Banke, chairwoman of Jackson Family Wines, and Peggy Furth, former co-proprietor of Chalk Hill Estates & Vineyards.

Explaining the process of using grape skins, the company’s website reads: “Unfortunately there is only so much that can be composted or spread back on the field, so the bulk goes to the dump. Bummer right? We thought so. Fortunately some very smart partners of ours figured out a way to dry and mill the grape skins and seeds into a flour that can be used in baking. Rich in nutrients, and antioxidants, our Sonoma Grape Flour adds a unique and tasty twist to the humble crisp.”

It took two years for the partners to bring their product to market.

Speaking to the Press Democrat, co-founder Mike Keefer said: “We wanted to come up with a healthier option in the snack aisle.

“The twice-baked snack chip has two-thirds less fat than the typical tortilla or potato chip”

The innovative snack has already won recognition as one of the eight trend-setting natural and organic products at San Francisco’s Fancy Foods Show and will shortly be shipped to markets in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois.

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