April Gargiulo reached into her family's winemaking tradition and plucked out pure beauty.

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Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum
Credit: Photo by Carson Downing / Food Styling by Greg Luna / Prop Styling by Sue Mitchell

I first discovered Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum in a moment of private despair during the pandemic, when it seemed there was nothing left to do but order things online and wait for them to arrive. I had a new baby, and the world had shut down; I was thoroughly exhausted. And so, despite my usual sensible devotion to the drugstore beauty aisle, and my underlying embarrassment for wanting to believe that a single product could actually change my life, I went for it—and promptly fell in love.

Vintner's Daughter, helmed by April Gargiulo (who hails from a family of fine California winemakers), was established on the principle that a hardworking beauty product could be nursed to life in the old ways of winemaking, through quality natural ingredients and time. The company's signature product, a 22-ingredient tonic of rose hip, bergamot, turmeric, and more, is essentially a plant-based diet for your skin. My favorite part, however, is its unique ability to fill a room with a deeply floral fragrance, transforming a mundane nightly routine into something special and restorative. It smells like you just inherited a great deal of money from an uncle you never knew; it makes you yearn for the embrace of your late grandmother, who in your memory was chic and worldly, yet also endlessly loving. You never knew your grandmother, you say? Vintner's Daughter just gave you one, and she was fabulous.

My tired, neglected skin responded immediately to this newfound attention, and I'm afraid to admit that I can't ever go back to a life without it. Is it possible that using a single product could be a perspective-changing act of self-love? I'd argue, yes. At the end of the day, as I wash the day off and press the serum into my skin, I'm reminded of simplicity and beauty, of enjoying something just because it's nice. Many of the things we love most are best honored when shared by others, even during a time of extreme separation—a great bottle of wine uncorked and poured between two glasses, or a steaming pot of coffee doled out on the front porch in the unexpected cool of a late-summer morning, when every morning looks the same. But there are things of beauty to be shared, and there are things to be reserved for oneself, as an act of self-love and restoration—and this, this one is just for me.

Find It

Indulge in the Active Botanical Serum ($75 for a 5-ml. bottle) at vintnersdaughter.com, ($185 for 1 oz.) at nordstrom.com or violetgrey.com.