Two years ago, actress Cameron Diaz found herself enjoying a glass of wine with a friend, Katherine Power. The pair share a passion for all things wellness – Diaz has authored two books on the topic and Power is the founder of clean beauty brands Merit and Versed – but, they observed, for as mindful as they aimed to be about healthy foods and products, they didn’t really know what, exactly, they were drinking.
“As focused as we were on wellness and ensuring we knew the contents of everything that went in and on our bodies, we realized how much there was to learn about wine,” Diaz recalls. “Once we gained some perspective, we completely changed the way we drank, and we wanted to share this insight with as many people as possible.”
Some wine producers add sulfur or additional sugars, or use other ingredients to stabilize, preserve, or clarify their products. Among legally-allowed substances used in winemaking are a number of animal-derived products, including casein, egg whites, and protease – and the average wine-buyer might have no idea if these ingredients have been used in what they’re drinking.
“Winemakers are legally required to disclose very little about their wines — this doesn’t include how grapes are grown or which additives are used in the winemaking process,” Power notes.
Power and Diaz hatched a plan to go into business, producing vegan wines from organically-grown grapes. And, unlike most business schemes thought up by friends after a few glasses of wine, this one came to fruition. Avaline launched last year and quickly hit stores across the U.S.
“Two years ago, if we wanted clean wine, we had to pre-order or drive across town to a specialty shop. This is why Avaline was born,” Power says. “We wanted anyone to be able to grab it at their grocery store before heading to a barbecue or a friend’s house.”
While Diaz and Power oversee the brand, neither is a winemaker themselves. Avaline works with established vintners in California and Spain to produce the line.
“We believe that starting with organically farmed grapes is the most important step in making delicious clean wine. Our wines are certified organic by the governing body where the wine is made: the Competent Body of Catalonia and Bureau Veritas Certification,” Diaz says. “This guarantees that they are never farmed with harsh synthetic pesticides.”
Some critics have claimed that “clean wine” is little more than a marketing term, and pointed out that Avaline does use things like pea protein for clarification and cream of tartar to prevent crystal formation in the bottle. But the brand’s founders say that, in addition to eschewing any animal products in the process, they are setting themselves apart by being up front with consumers about everything they use.
“We never use any unnecessary additives and are always transparent about exactly what our wine is made with because you don’t need many ingredients to make great wine,” Diaz says. “Each of our ingredients is carefully considered and can be found on our website as well as rolling out on our bottles.”
This summer, Avaline is adding a new bottling to their line up, their first sparkling rosé. The wine is made for the brand by biodynamic Spanish winery Raventós i Blanc, which has been growing local varietals in Catalonia for 21 generations, dating back to 1497.
“Like all of our wines, the sparkling rosé is made with organic grapes, vegan, and free of unwanted extras like colors and concentrates,” Power says. Our new wine is sold in easy-to-carry (and even easier to drink), half-bottles that you can pour, sip, and enjoy all summer long.”
The limited edition wine is now available on the brand’s website, along with the line’s existing red, white, rosé, and sparkling.