“It’s not what you add, but what you don’t add,” says the Cameron Diaz of the concept behind her new range of ‘clean’ wines. Named Avaline, the Spanish white and French rosé are organic, vegan and free from “unnecessary additives”, and are the work of a collaboration between the actress and her business partner the American fashion entrepreneur Katherine Power.
Diaz developed the brand with Power, whom she was introduced to through a family friend, after she began questioning what went in her favourite alcoholic drink. “I figured [wine] was the most responsible alcohol choice because it was made with fermented grapes. But I had no idea about the process. One of the first conversations Katherine and I had about making a cleaner wine was “what are we going to add in?”. We soon learned it’s not what you add, but what you don’t add,” she says.
Hatching the idea for a new wine one afternoon, the pair explain that they began “studying the wine world” in 2018 in a bid to find out what was really their glass. They have chosen to adopt vegan-friendly processing methods and organic grape-growing practices to make the Avaline duo – which reflects a wider shift in the wine industry over the past decade, says Telegraph wine correspondent Victoria Moore. “There's a huge demand for vegan wines at the moment and many retailers and producers have responded to this," she explains. "For instance, over 70 per cent of M&S's range is suitable for vegans, and the supermarket has committed to making sure that all its own-label wines are vegan by the end of 2022."
Organic, Moore continues, “was once a word that wine producers hid from the label for fear that it would put off shoppers, but sales of organic wines rose by 47 per cent last year." Diaz and Power say that “Avaline aims to set a new standard for the industry.”
The pair have refrained from using the word “natural” to describe their range, a term used to indicate a low level of intervention, namely that a low volume of sulfites have been used to preserve the wine. Aveline’s website states that they use “just enough to ensure its consistency tastes great, always keeping the total amount under 110ppm.”
The wines are, however, being marketed with the word "clean" to promote them – an emotive phrase whose efficacy is hard to prove. Phrases such as “When wine comes clean”, “Meet clean wine with nothing to hide”, and “To a cleaner pour” are scattered like confetti throughout the website. “It is a confusing term,” says Moore. “It implies that it’s different to other wines on the shelf, which isn’t always the case. It would be better to stick to labels that have some legal force, such as organic, or that actually mean something, such as vegan.”
As a marketing tool, it's a powerful one. Avaline's pared back, chic labels set the scene, while Diaz and Power have committed to making the ingredients in their wines "transparent". Their white is made from organic grapes grown in Penedès in northern Spain, blending macabeo, malvasia and xarel·lo which are often used to make cava, while the pink, a Vin de France, contains organically farmed cinsault, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and caladoc. Those ingredients they do add, such as pea protein for clarifying the rosé, are marked up and explained.
But what of the taste? Sadly, the wines – the white "dry and crisp", the rosé "light and fresh" – are only currently available to buy in the US (retailed at $24, about £19, each), but have been launched at a time when drinking them in “the warmth of the sun and the company of your best friend” will undoubtedly be an appealing prospect for many.
Five more celebrity wines
Graham Norton’s Own Pink by Design Rosé
Launched in 2014, Graham Norton's New Zealand wine business now produces over 3 million bottles a year. £9.50, Tesco.
Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé
Though you wouldn't know, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie remain partners on this award-winning Provencal wine. £18.50, Fortnum & Mason
Hampton Water Rosé
Produced in the Languedoc by winemaker Gérard Bertrand, this rosé is backed by none other than Jon Bon Jovi. £19.99, My Wine Cellar
Botham and Balfour Sparkling Rosé
This joint venture between Sir Ian Botham and Hush Heath Estate in Kent is an approachable introduction to why the reputation of English fizz is on the up and up. £25, bothamwines.com
Kylie Minogue Rosé