As most of my clients and friends know, one of my very favorite products of all time is Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum.

Though one might assume that the “Daughter” behind the wildly popular, hyper-clean serum is its creator, April Gargiulo, it’s actually Gargiulo’s older daughter who inspired the name of this magical elixir.

I was was one of the first skincare professionals to incorporate the serum into my treatments. It’s a perfect fit with other products, and it helps with so many issues, including rosacea and acne. I use it after Micro-Puncture and OxyLight LED Therapy to regenerate the skin, and my clients are literally glowing. And that rose-extract scent! It’s such a pleasure to use.

I reached out to April, who has become a friend and inspiration, to find out how the Napa Valley based winemaker and skin savant is holding up after the smashing success of her very first skincare product, and her secret for keeping the stress of “sequel” expectations at bay.

JC: What drives you?

AG: I know it sounds dramatic, but I want to make a difference in women’s lives by helping them have their very best skin. 

JC: What can you tell us about your background in wine-making? Is your family vineyard known for a particular specialty?

AG: I grew up in an agriculture and fine winemaking family. We still produce wine and the winery is called Gargiulo Vineyards. We produce single vineyard, estate Cabernet Sauvignon and are considered to be a "first growth” Napa Valley wine producer. Gargiulo Vineyards and Vintner’s Daughter share the same commitment to the finest quality.  

JC: Shifting gears to beauty, was your first pregnancy the chief trigger for you to start cleaning up your skincare routine?

AG: Yes. I had always struggled with my skin. I lived in New York after college, and while all of my friends were buying those little Fendi Baguettes – basically spending their entire paychecks on shoes and bags - I was spending my money on skincare. Expensive skincare, because I thought that expensive meant higher quality.

That comes from my family background. Yes, we make a very expensive bottle of wine. But I’m very sure that the level of quality, in every step of our process, meets that $300 price tag.

When I became pregnant, I started looking at the ingredients of the skincare products I was using. And I was shocked at how many cheap, synthetic filler there were. It was about one percent – if that – of active ingredients.

That’s when I went looking in the natural world for alternatives. And I just couldn’t find the level of performance I wanted.

For me, it was about coming up with one product that delivered multi-correctional performance. I was a new mom. I didn’t have time for seven, eight or 10 steps. I traveled a lot, and didn’t want to carry everything around with me.

JC: How did you get the ball rolling? And how long was it before you landed on a formula you were completely happy with?

AG: I did a ton of research on my own, but I had two really tenured chemist-formulators who helped develop the product. It took two years.

 

JC: There are 22 ingredients in your serum. Do you consider them all active?

AG: Yes. They were chosen because they’re the most active ingredients in the world. And we boost a couple further by infusing them with plants that are even more nutrient-dense.

These whole plants have ideal ratios of everything your skin needs to be its most balanced. All the vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, phyto-nutrients, omegas, aminos. These are actually plants that, in ancient times, were called ‘the foods of life’ because they gave you everything you needed to thrive.

Skin recognizes what’s in these plants. That’s why we chose them.

JC: Are you growing some of these plants yourself?

AG: No. We’re relying on very conscious growers from all over the world. Coming from wine-making, I believe in the concept of terroir – that there are places in the world that grow the best of something. So our rose comes from The Valley of the Roses in Bulgaria, from a family that has been producing this very beautiful rose oil for generations. Our hazelnut comes the Piedmont region of Italy – again a place where they’ve been producing this particular oil in these very ancient, methodical ways. 

JC: Do you feel the pressure for a sequel? It must be pretty intense.

AG: Yes! But for us, we know the success of Active Botanical Serum is based on results. And it’s been built on word-of-mouth, by people who use it and really see a difference in their skin. We would never introduce another product that isn’t similarly game-changing and category-defining.

JC: There Is such a strong synergy between us, how did you know?

AG: Yes! You and I were both part of the same New York Times article. And I remember reading about how you approached your work and I just thought, ‘She would love Vintner’s Daughter.’ 

We’re very careful about who we partner with. It’s a very complex product and it takes time to understand. I thought you were a kindred spirit and would really get it. So I just reached out. 

JC: You cold-emailed me, and you were persistent which I appreciate and am grateful for!

AG: Yes. And it took a couple of emails, with me bugging you before you finally said ‘Great, send it along.’ And then when you came to town we got to meet. And you’re just amazing: super-knowledgeable and very direct.

JC: What's a “typical” day like for you?

AG: No two days are the same, but I always begin and end with focused, intentional time spent with my family. The rest of the day tends to have a life of its own.  

JC: You seem firmly on top of your game. Are you super-organized, a great delegator, etc?

AG: I prioritize relentlessly around the things that mean the most to me: My family, my health, my business, my community and the charities we support. This means I say no to a lot, though, and I am okay with that. 

JC: What do you love to do when you're not working?

AG: Traveling, listening to music, hiking, reading. 

JC: How do you recharge?

AG: I meditate every day. That’s really my reset.

JC: Do you feel the pressure for a sequel? It must be pretty intense.

AG: Yes! But for us, we know the success of Active Botanical Serum is based on results. And it’s been built on word-of-mouth, by people who use it and really see a difference in their skin. We would never introduce another product that isn’t similarly game-changing and category-defining.

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