Photo Credit: Courtesy of Amour Genève.
Scientist Turned Vintner Honors Late Father With World's First Natural Blue Wine
Coviello Salinès’ Amour Genève wine is inextricably linked to his father Freddie Francisco Salinès. For one, the trademark electric blue shade is a reflection of the older Salinès’ love for the color.
Freddie was born in December, a month represented by a trio of blue-hued birthstones — tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise. He loved collecting those gems during his travels as a Marine, along with various wines and spirits.
“He is the one who introduced me to wine and also cooking as well,” shared Coviello with Travel Noire “It was a big hobby of his, pairing different wines and beers and things that match with the food that he made. We are of Afro-Latino descent, so having those different types of mixtures of food and cultures were always a big thing in the home.”
Even the name, Amour Genève, has a direct connection to his dad. The Swiss city of Geneva was Freddie’s favorite and the two had hoped to travel there together at some point. Unfortunately, Freddie died tragically before that dream could be realized. But Freddie did leave his son with one last thing which would guide him along his current path. A love of science.
“My father wanted me to be a neurosurgeon. So throughout my life, I was reading brain books. They were 1,000 pages long, breaking down analysis and all this different stuff with him.”
Coviello continued on to university in Ohio where he studied biochemistry and minored in petroleum engineering. He spent a few years working in the engineering field but noticed that nepotism and racism were very prevalent. The destruction of the land in the areas he worked in also dissuaded him from continuing along that career path. Instead, he headed off to Geneva to meet up with some friends. There he learned of the unethical practice of adding artificial coloring to wine. It is illegal to add anything outside of natural wine components to the winemaking process.
Intrigued by this new challenge, Coviello got to work on a scientific blueprint.
“I started writing out the formula of not only the derivative of grape skins but the anthocyanin compound that is in multiple fruits and vegetables. I also wrote the analysis of spectrum when it came down to the acidic to pH scalability of these different types of skins that allowed the molecular breakdown of that compound to sustain another color. So at that point, I started researching it, I figured out a formula that I was comfortable with, and I brought it to a few of the researchers and a few of the people that I was close with. And we started to find different areas that we can start sourcing these products.”
His journey took him to Italy, with a plan to “sustain a white wine format that wasn’t as buttery Chardonnay, but not as bitter as a Sauvignon Blanc.” It took Coviello a year, dwindling funds, and approximately 350 tries before he finally struck gold. Or rather, blue.
“It broke down every single avenue of the color spectrum of blue,” he said of the final result. “So when you look at the bottle, it has every single hue of blue attached to it, which I wanted to achieve but I didn’t think it was possible.”
The process has now been perfected and in 2017 Amour Genève officially launched and became the world’s first FDA, TTB, and EU-approved natural blue. Always a scientist, Coviello is now exploring the relationship between wine and human connection. Amour Genève continues to make waves overseas and now in the United States.
“People are loving it. They’re loving the story. They’re loving the journey and the shape of the business. It’s just, it’s just all beautiful.”
And somewhere out there you have to believe that Freddie Francisco Salinès is loving it too.