There has been a bridge crossed, from tea to wine tea…

Two very innovative companies have joined forces: The Republic of Tea has a finished product, with Whole Vine Products supplying the necessary grape products to put into these unusually unique teas.

A word about WholeVine Products in the mix: Sonoma Teas utilizes fine wine grape skins sourced from WholeVine, which offers products made with all-natural ingredients from fine wine vineyards.  Founded by Barbara Banke of Kendall Jackson Family Estates and business partner Peggy Furth, WholeVine shares The Republic of Tea’s commitment to sustainability and is dedicated to helping the fine wine industry reduce its environmental footprint by generating new uses for vineyard byproducts.

 I need to segue, just for a bit:

There are very few times in life that the universe hands you the ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. At least, that’s what it feels like. I was asked if I would work with Ron Rubin of The Rubin Family of Wines, who also owns The Republic of Tea. This was two years ago, and that job that I said “yes” to has become one remarkable moment after another. Every single person who works with and for Ron is someone extraordinary. With this client – there’s something very magical going on. Ron’s motto of “a beautiful experience” is how he sees life, and delivers it to those around him. He’s very charismatic and also very fair. And now we have a new marvel. I thought I’d share, because it’s life enriching.

When Ron told Jose and I that he was going to be putting out a tea with grape skins, we just said, “Okay.” I wasn’t able to conceptualize it, but if anyone could make it happen, I knew that it would be Ron Rubin. It also needs to be mentioned that Ron has just stepped aside with The Republic of Tea, to be sitting on the board of directors. Ron’s son Todd has been a very powerful leader at TRoT (as they call it). Todd Rubin has been given the reins…. Just at this point, as the Sonoma Iced Teas are launched.

Sonoma Teas let you experience the world-class wine region of Sonoma County, California from the comforts of home! Like a fine wine, they are full of fruity flavors and bursting with body. Blends include fine wine grape skins, fruit and herbs. Alcohol and caffeine free, these exclusive infusions offer an enchanting sipping experience. Each pouch steeps a quart of premium tea.

Tea from wine grape skins


SONOMA Chardonnay ICED TEA:  Wine grape skins, apple bits, organic lemongrass, natural white wine flavor, organic orange peel, natural pineapple and peach flavors, sweet blackberry leaves, and natural peach juice.

STRAW YELLOW: Color is so inviting.

PALATE: When I tasted this first “Sonoma Chardonnay Iced Tea,” I actually cheated. I didn’t wait for it to get cold enough to put in my fridge to chill, because the hot tea smelled so inviting. I have a new afternoon beverage… It was a perfect pick-up my afternoon flavor…

FINISH: Lemon sunshine… and a hint of nutmeg. It’s a complete palate cleanser. I can see having these teas on a picnic… and I’m wishing that they had been created sooner. My grandmother’s tea was the good old fashioned tea bags offered in the 50s and 60s. This tea rival the best I’ve had throughout life. There’s just enough tea to it… and lots of jazz running through it… making it a very fun afternoon.

SONOMA Rose ICED TEA: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Fine Wine grape skins, apple bits, natural strawberry flavor, natural white wine flavor, organic hibiscus, sweet blackberry leaves, organic orange peel and natural strawberry juice.

PINK: old fashioned pick roses in color.

PALATE: rose hips, blueberries, tangerine. This one was my favorite, with definite strawberry flavors…

FINISH: Lingering, naturally sweet flavors, with the hibiscus dominating.

SONOMA Cabernet ICED TEA: Cabernet Sauvignon fine wine grape skins, organic hibiscus, sweet blackberry leaves, natural Cabernet flavor, apple bits, black currant juice, organic orange peel, and organic  elderberries.

After the Rose, I segue to the Sonoma Cabernet Iced Tea. This is the serious one… Brooding and austere of the three.

PINOT NOIR: I let this one steep a bit more, so the color did remind me of a lighter Pinot Noir.

NOSE: Black currant and moroccan spices. So nice, lots of spice… So loving it.

PALATE: Rich, black currant was the dominant flavor, deliciously so.

FINISH: Long and lingering with hints of orange remaining.

This teas far exceeded my expectations, and are now going to be a staple in our household. What fun innovation and use of grape skins, after they’ve had the juice squeezed from them during the winemaking process.

If you love tea, these teas are going to really delight your palate.