"While we did not discover the benefits of red wine, we did discover a brand new way, using science to accelerate nature's goodness, to bring those benefits to consumers,” said Zaki Rakib, co founder of BioHarvest.
Food, or supplement?
The company makes a distinction between “biofood” and dietary supplement. Rakib said VINIA is sold as a food, not a supplement, and is meant to be sprinkled atop other foods or added into beverages. But the company’s initial marketing makes supplement like claims, saying that the product “helps dilate your blood vessels, which in turn, promotes healthy blood circulation, aids healthy arteries and supports blood pressure already within a normal range.”
BioHarvest said one serving of the product contains 5 mg of resveratrol and 40 mg overall of the polyphenols found in red wine. That resveratrol dosage is equivalent to the amount of resveratrol found in one bottle of red wine, according to the company. Similar to other companies marketing whole food products, BioHarvest makes a case for the synergistic effect of the entire suite of polyphenols found in the grape, which resveratrol, quercitin, tannins, catechins and anthocyanins.
While the product leaves out some of the possibly negative effects of drinking wine every day, the privilege comes at a cost: even at a discounted bulk price, a month’s supply of VINIA costs $120.
BioHarvest grows its raw material via a hydroponic technology developed over a period of 10 years, according to the company. The company plans to expand the whole food philosophy to other fruits and vegetables beyond grapes.
Relocating to New York
BioHarvest got its start in Rehovot, Israel, where the agriculture faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is located. But the company recently announced plans to relocate its headquarters to the campus of the University at Albany in New York, aided by a grant from the state. The company plans to build a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on one of the university’s campuses that would cost as much as $10 million and employ as many as 60 people. The manufacturing facility, which would be completed in late 2014 or sometime in 2015, would have four five-ton bioreactors, according to the Albany Times Union.
The company reportedly has two clinical trials completed or underway: one at Tel Aviv University that is expected completed this summer is testing the powder’s effects in type 2 diabetes. Another study in Israel tested its impact on aerobic fitness and mood.