Vintner’s Daughter Finally Has A Second Product

Active Botanical Serum is no longer an only child.

The product that converted natural beauty skeptics to evangelists and carried Vintner’s Daughter since its 2014 debut now has a sibling in Active Treatment Essence, a hydrator the brand promises is so powerful it eliminates several skincare steps. The sophomore release will launch exclusively on Goop and Vintner’s Daughter websites, and at Goop stores in Los Angeles and New York on Feb. 25 before premiering in April at Vintner’s Daughter’s around 100 stockists worldwide.

“There’s way more pressure on this launch than on the first,” admits Vintner’s Daughter founder April Gargiulo. “This is a product I had to make. There’s nothing like it. I’ve always wanted the highest efficiency in the shortest number of steps. I wanted a cleanser–although there’s no cleanser that has blown me away–a toning essence and the botanical serum. That was everything I needed for my skin.”

Gargiulo’s approach to skincare is informed by her family’s history in winemaking. Her parents Jeff and Valerie started Garguilo Vineyards, the top-rated Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon producer, in 1992. At Vintner’s Daughter, which refers to Gargiulo’s daughter whom she was pregnant with at the brand’s inception, star ingredients are less vital than the overall skincare compositions and the quality of the ingredients is of the utmost importance.

Vintner's Daughter founder April Gargiulo
Vintner’s Daughter founder April Gargiulo

“Most products are sold off of one thing,” says Gargiulo. “They have vitamin C or hyaluronic acid, right? This product [Active Treatment Essence] is giving you all of that plus so much more.”

Vintner’s Daughter’s ingredients don’t begin as powders or isolates. They begin as whole plants, and nutrients are extracted slowly from the whole plants to form the product formulas. Active Botanical Serum is known for containing 22 active botanicals, and Active Treatment Essence features over 30 active botanicals. Active Botanical Serum takes three weeks to complete and Active Treatment Essence takes five weeks.

At the heart of Active Treatment Essence is the so-called Phyto Radiance Infusion, an array of 13 ingredients such as moringa, acerola, astragalus, nettle, helichrysum and marshmallow. The product’s formula allows for water-soluble ingredients, notably vitamin C, that Gargiulo says weren’t possible in its oil-based predecessor. She explains the vitamin C in Active Treatment Essence is derived from the kakadu plum employing a new extraction method that maintains the stability of the notoriously volatile ingredient. Additional ingredients in Active Treatment Essence are hyaluronic acid, microalgae, gluconolactone, lactic acid and apple cider vinegar.

“This is a product I had to make. There’s nothing like it. I’ve always wanted the highest efficiency in the shortest number of steps. I wanted a cleanser–although there’s no cleanser that has blown me away–a toning essence and the botanical serum. That was everything I needed for my skin.”

Fermentation was the hardest part of perfecting the product. “Fermentation’s tricky, and it was a bumpy road for a while. I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to do it. Truthfully, I was having these conversations like, ‘We’re just going to have one product and that is OK,’” says Gargiulo. “I really wanted a fermented component. It’s something that really elevates the impact of the nutrition in your skin like it does in the body. It’s so good to eat kimchi and sauerkraut because it just makes things more bioavailable sooner and faster.”

Active Botanical Serum set a lofty bar for facial oil pricing at $185 for a 30-ml. bottle. Active Treatment Essence pushes the price needle upward for an essence. It’s $225 for a 50-ml. bottle. In comparison, SK-II’s iconic Facial Treatment Essence is $179 for a 160-ml. size. The price of Active Treatment Essence reflects Vintner’s Daughter’s prowess at establishing a reputation as an effective luxury brand rather than merely a natural beauty brand with pure ingredients that aren’t particularly potent.

“If this product was priced using a traditional skincare multiple, it would be far more. That was the price we had to put down,” says Gargiulo. “The product is incredibly complex, and the sourcing is of the highest possible standard. Per milliliter, it’s less than serum. A 50-ml. bottle of serum is $305, and this is $225.”

Vintner's Daughter Active Treatment Essence
Priced at $225, Vintner’s Daughter’s Active Treatment Essence contains more than 30 active botanical ingredients. It will launch exclusively at Goop on Feb. 25.

Gargiulo didn’t share Vintner’s Daughter’s projected revenue for this year, but the brand foresees substantial growth. Its sales leapt roughly 150% last year and the prior year, and the increase in 2019 is expected to exceed that percentage. Active Treatment Essence could draw customers to the brand familiar with essences from the J-Beauty and K-Beauty popularization of the product that have been reticent to dabble in facial oils. The arrival of Active Treatment Essence could also boost sales of Active Botanical Serum as Vintner’s Daughter revs up its promotional efforts.

Gargiulo is heading on the road to educate store associates and consumers about Active Treatment Essence. Beyond Goop, Vintner’s Daughter’s retail network includes CAP Beauty, The Detox Market, Net-a-porter, Violet Grey and Olivela. It currently has 11 people on staff, up from three about two years ago. Gargiulo has hired an executive assistant to help manage her busy schedule. She says Vintner’s Daughter is looking to augment its retail network, but must placed in stores that can skillfully communicate its multifaceted message.

Discussing Active Treatment Essence, Gargiulo emphasizes, “Their people have got to understand what this product is, how it fits in with Active Botanical Serum, and how their clients are going to benefit from it.” She elaborates that Active Treatment Essence and Active Botanical Serum are “yin to each other’s yang. Where Active Botanical Serum has this lush, rich scent, Essence barely has a scent. There’s a tiny bit of a fermented scent. The Serum has this very viscous, rich texture. Essence is an effluent solution.”

Vintner’s Daughter hasn’t taken on outside investment to fuel its business. Gargiulo insists, “I want to build a heritage company. I’m not building this to sell.” She may not be building the company to sell, but she is building it. Gargiulo anticipates Vintner’s Daughter’s third product won’t be in the pipeline for five years. “I hope it doesn’t take me that long to make, but sometimes I will envision something, and my [production] manager will tell me, ‘April, the way you’re envisioning this doesn’t exist,’” she says. “Sometimes you have to wait until technology catches up to where you are.”