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Iced Tisanes from The Republic of Tea

by Sandra Ramani

The master blenders at The Republic of Tea might travel the globe to source their leaves and herbs, but the inspiration for their latest release was found just up the road from their Northern California offices. There, in the state’s wine country, Kendall Jackson Family Estate Chairwoman and Proprietor Barbara Banke and fellow wine exec Peggy Furth founded WholeVine, a company dedicated to “the full cycle of sustainability” of the fine wine industry, and reducing its environmental footprint.
Due to sheer volume and limited facilities, not all the by-products of winemaking are able to be composted or reused, leaving an overflow of grape skins, stems, stalks and leaves—so WholeVine creates nutrient-rich products from these antioxidant-packed leftovers, including grapeseed flour, cooking oils and gluten-free cookies. Still, more grape skins remain. Enter The Republic of Tea.
The new Sonoma Teas iced teas are actually tisanes (no black, white, or green tea leaves are involved) made with an all-natural mix of WholeVine-sourced grape skins, and natural fruits and herbs—no sugar, caffeine or calories. Each blend is distinctive, but still subtle, refreshing and ideal to pair with food. The Sonoma Chardonnay accents Chardonnay skins with organic lemongrass and orange peel and natural pineapple and peach; Sonoma Rose tea mixes Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grape skins with sweet blackberry leaves, organic hibiscus and natural strawberry juice; and Sonoma Cabernet has the skins of that varietal, plus black currant juice, organic orange peel and organic elderberries.
Because the grape skins are too large for a traditional tea bag, the mixes are packaged in oversized pouches made with unbleached fibers designed for brewing iced tea by the quart. A Mulled Zin Hot Tea, with Zinfandel grape skins infused with spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves and orange zest, launches in September. $7.99; republicoftea.com

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