A New Twist On Wine... And It's Healthy

A New Twist On Wine... And It's Healthy

Wine flour is hitting the Finger Lakes by storm.
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A steak being rubbed with this dark, powdery substance is transformed. A brownie mix wouldn’t be complete without a dash of the dark stuff. No protein shake will ever be the same.

So says the only Finger Lakes producer of a groundbreaking product.

Although Corning, New York resident Hilary Niver-Johnson is not the first to make wine flour, she is one of only five companies doing it — and her Sustainable Viticulture Systems is the first to be doing so on the East Coast.

Niver-Johnson’s story begins after she graduated from SUNY ESF with a degree in environmental science. She started doing research that measured the energy in vineyards and wineries — and discovered the incredible amount of waste involved with winemaking.

She turned to grapeseed oil, but soon realized it only used, roughly 3 percent of the pomace, which are the solid remains of the grapes after they’re pressed for juice or oil. She decided to look into other ways to use the pomace.

Grapeseed flour and wine flour took care of the other 97 percent.

Niver-Johnson built her processing factory back in 2014 and has a processing capacity of 10 tons. Her commercial facility is located in Hector, NY where she has all of her equipment and solar de-hydration system.

“It was hard work starting this,” she says, noting that the flour-making process is laborious. “The seeds and the skins must be separated and then dried using solar thermal technologies. From there the seeds are cold-pressed, milled, and turned into flour.” This process of solar de-hydration is key to locking out the heat chemicals. In a phone call Niver-Johnson explained, “When you add heat you create hexane, and this aromatic compound can get into products and affect the nutritional value.” The hexane is a harmful heat chemical that can immediately kill a batch of wine flour.

Unlike traditional white flour, wine flour is high in antioxidants and fiber, providing added nutrition to any recipe. There are two antioxidants found in the flour, firstly polyphenols, which are abundant micronutrients in our diet that play a role in the prevention of degenerative diseases, like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. And bioflavonoids, which are plant metabolites, responsible for the coloring in fruits and vegetables. They are also known to defend your skin against, stress and aging. These micronutrients have lead researchers to look deeper into the health benefits of the wine flour.

Agricultural Research Service chemist, Wallace Yokoyama and his colleagues teamed up with WholeVine Products, a northern California maker of wine flour, to conduct the first study showing the effects of flour milled from whole grape seeds and there ability to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

This September an article in the United States Department of Agriculture Magazine released the findings of Yokoyama’s preliminary study that was in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2014, showing how laboratory hamsters that were normally fed high-fat diets reduced their blood cholesterol levels, hepatic steatosis better known as “fatty liver,” and weight, when given flour-milled from Chardonnay wine grape seeds.

Further more the research is starting to look into the kinds and amount of bacteria in the animals’ gut. The USDA article states, “The gut “microbiome,” as it is known, is of interest to scientists worldwide because of the beneficial role that some gut bacteria may play in controlling obesity or reducing risk of type 2 diabetes, for instance.”

In addition to these findings with the recent spike in gluten-intolerant people and the health movement in general it makes gluten-free wine flour that much more attractive — “everything from steak rubs, thickening soup, adding to pasta,” Niver-Johnson said.

She cautioned that wine flour is meant to supplement recipes, not serve as a wholesale substitute for any ingredient, including regular flour.

“If you’re baking, you add a couple of tablespoons per cup of flour,” Niver-Johnson advised.

Wine flour is sold in different varieties, Niver-Johnson said. She has riesling and Cabernet Ssauvignon right now, and will be launching six more in the coming months. And as a result of the wine flour process there is zero organic waste.

In order to sustain her 3-year-old business, Niver-Johnson has relied on private donors and bank funding. However, she is encouraged by recent experiences: Niver-Johnson attended Seneca Lake Wine and Food 2015 in Watkins Glen May 30-31 and sold all of her baked goods and all of the wine flour she brought.

She suggests beginning with something sweet and simple like Pinot Noir Donut Cookies, the recipe is posted on the FLX Wine Flour website along with other savory dishes like Mediterranean Cabernet Pizza or Chardonnay Crusted Chicken. Niver-Johnson will be touring the Finger Lakes this fall and will be celebrating her newest invention, leaving a trail of wine flour behind.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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Top 5 Hidden Gems In Clemson, SC

What are you missing out on in this beautiful South Carolina college town?

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Clemson, South Carolina. Home to the Clemson Tigers, one of the happiest universities in the nation and full of southern hospitality. I'm sure if you live in or near Clemson you know all the main spots to hang, or just grab a bite to eat. Who doesn't know Red Bowl, Spill the Beans or Bowman Field? Maybe you need a new spot, somewhere to quench your thirst for adventure, or maybe you're just tired of the same old same old. Either way, you're going to fall in love with these ten hidden gems, just as I have.

1. Yolk Asian Kitchen

Whether you're coming to Yolk for the made in house ginger ale, the stone rice bowls, or the kimchi tater tots; you'll always leave satisfied.

Located across from Mellow Mushroom (because you surely know where that is), this small restaurant has a very special place in my heart. I mean, 5 minutes from campus, good prices, and vegetarian options? What more can be said?

2. Todaro Pizza

Todaro Pizza. This small pizza shop that has the right amount of crust, to sauce, to greasiness and cheesiness. Everything aligns perfectly on these large slices of heaven. Not to mention, dollar slice nights every Wednesday from 6:00-11:00 p.m.

3. All In Coffee Shop

This small (but not really so small, its got amazingly spacious seating inside) cafe features pastries like your grandma would make, a bountiful selection of coffees and bubble tea offered every Wednesdays. This place is home to many of my study sessions, friendly conversations, and my large consumption of almond milk caramel lattes.

4. The Barnes Center

Now, I know this one may not be very hidden to those students who live on campus (particularly the high-rises) but, some may not know about the weekend events hosted here (and at least this one isn't completely food related). Whether it's game nights, DIY sessions, or cupcake wars: this spot on Clemson's Campus is a smorgasbord for bored college students.

5. Brackett Hall

Now, of course, if you're a student this building is not much of a secret. Many of us have had classes, exams or walked past this building many times. Though this building is underrated in the fact that in the evening it's one of the quietest places to study, with rows of tables and computers lining the bottom floor. (It even has a secret lounge for geology majors!)

I know these spots are great places to hang out with my friends and as a freshman, they've almost become little spots of home to me. Hopefully, these small little gems in this college town will quench your adventurous thirst and bring some spice to your life!

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