A Sweet Surplus
Couple uses excess wine grapes in new product
Posted on January 16, 2018
It can be easy to take for granted the natural bounty we have available here in the Golden State. One enterprising local couple wants to ensure that we are both aware of what we consume and where it comes from. Of course, it also needs to taste good.
Emily and Jeff Josenhans are founders and owners of Domaine Santé, a San Diego-based company that uses California-grown wine grapes to make a range of all-natural, vegan, liquid sweeteners that have relatively low glycemic indices. Emily’s nutritional consulting expertise was paired with Jeff’s sommelier background and long beverage industry career. The couple decided to marry their knowledge to create a food product that would help improve sustainability in the state’s wine industry while preserving the health benefits of grapes made into wine.
“Wine grapes are among the largest agricultural crops in California, much of which is wasted every year as surplus. Sugar is also one of the world’s largest commodities,” says Emily, explaining the connection they drew between grapes and sweeteners. “The vast majority of sweeteners and sugar consumed in the United States are not grown locally,” she adds. “We can tell you every farm we source grapes from, and in some cases the names of their dogs.”
Emily says that all of their grapes — which are limited to premium varieties used in winemaking like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer — originate from vineyards in the Mendocino and Lodi regions. She says the sweetener can be used in a variety of ways: as an oatmeal topper, part of a gastrique in a dish, and even on foie gras.
Jeff is the beverage director at the US Grant hotel downtown, where he has included the sweetener in a variety of cocktails. One recent creation used Misadventure Vodka, a premium spirit distilled in Vista, made from excess bread discarded by restaurants and supermarkets. The cocktail mixes the spirit with ten-year-old tawny port, cardamom bitters, and a bit of the Domaine Santé Sauvignon Blanc-variety sweetener. The result is a complex, super sweet cocktail that resembles an Old Fashioned — an impressive feat for a vodka drink.
The specialty sweeteners can be found at more than 30 restaurants and bars throughout San Diego. It can also be purchased online, but in town you can find it at Little Italy Mercato, Specialty Produce, Collins and Coupe, and Vom Fass Hillcrest, to name a just few.
It’s nice to see the addition of a little more dolce to our San Diego vita. domaine-sante.com Jackie Bryant
Photography by Tim King