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Lydia Mondavi Harvests Her Way to Skincare

Who would have thought wine and cosmetics could go hand in hand?

Luckily, Lydia Mondavi did and in 2007 she introduced her line 29 Cosmetics to the world.

At Great Wine News, we were fortunate enough to chat with Mondavi about her line, her famous husband and the products she truly can’t live without.

1.    What made you want to start 29 Cosmetics?

I have been in cosmetics and beauty for almost 20 years now. I started with Ralph Lauren in their cosmetic division and then got involved in the spa business helping to develop different products and treatments for spas and resorts around the world.

I really wanted to create a brand using eco-friendly, sustainable ingredients from our vineyards. So we started looking at how that would work in cosmetics, how it would work in skin care and body care and created a high comprehensive brand utilizing that main natural ingredient.

We wanted the name to be 29 Cosmetics and really link it back to where it originates which is the vineyard back here in Napa. It stands for Highway 29 that runs through our vineyard.

2.    Did you always know grape seeds were beneficial to the skin?

We had been using grape seed extract and grape seed oil in facial treatments but it wasn’t really available for the client to use at home.

Grape seeds have been researched for years and were found to be a natural ingredient to fight aging by really destroying the free radicals. Polyphenols found in grape seeds destroy free radicals and protect the skin’s collagen for healthy elasticity and suppleness, and combat the signs of aging. By destroying free radicals, grape seed anti-oxidants help detoxify and protect the skin.

Also, scientists have discovered that the procyanidins found in grape seed extract are 20 times more efficient than Vitamin C and 50 times more efficient than Vitamin E as free radical scavengers. They have also shown that procyanidins enhance the activity of Vitamin C as an anti-oxidant.

I don’t know if my husband loves me or hates me for it but I’m literally right there with him during harvest where he’s working on the grapes. I’m waiting for him to finish his fermentation and get the wine barrels so I can have the pomace and seeds.

It’s a super, powerful anti-oxidant!

3.    Do you have some dedicated scientists and beauty technicians to help with 29 Cosmetics?

We are definitely a small family business but we do have an amazing chemist who lives outside of Napa that handles all our skin care formulas. She specializes in natural ingredients and combining ingredients like vitamin C, shea butters from Uganda and other different ingredients that help make our products even better so it’s not just the grape seed.

4.    Were you a big lover of wine before you met Robert Mondavi Jr.?

We met in Atlanta and the first time he came over to my house to pick me up for a date, he immediately checked out the wine in my cellar. I certainly know a lot more about wine now and I’m more passionate about it from the business aspect of it.

5.    Do you have some new products you’re excited about debuting soon?

We are launching for the spring a new set of our lip treatments. It’s our First Crush lip scrub, Wine Blot lip balm SPF 20 and Hint of Honey lip therapy. The set comes together in a cute, 1920s lip case, like an old cigarette clutch.

6.    What is the one “must have” product?

I really, really love our cream cleanser. It’s just an incredible product and it’s made to balance, nourish and protect the skin. It’s a beautiful representation of the brand and it’s one of the products I can’t live without!

29 Cosmetics can be found at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Andaz Hotels by Hyatt, other select retailers as well as online at

  • 29 Cosmetics

  • Cream Cleanser

  • Napa Mist Replenishing Atomizer

  • Call Me a Cab Lipstick

  • First Crush lip scrub, Wine Blot lip balm SPF 20 and Hint of Honey lip therapy


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    Theresa Dillon

    Theresa Dillon
    Theresa Dillon earned her bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. In her spare time she enjoys reading, attending concerts, weekly trivia nights, watching movies (especially her favorite The Wizard of Oz), and of course wine.