It’s been a little more than a year since Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power launched Avaline, the vegan and organic wine brand committed to clean, better-for-you options. And with its latest release, a light-bodied California-grown Pinot Noir, Avaline is cementing its status as a premier sustainable wine brand for the 21st century and beyond.
“Our founders started Avaline around the premise that everything else in life has gotten healthier—so why not wine?” says Ashley Kalvin, Avaline’s VP of Digital and Brand Marketing tells Ethos. “Everything [Diaz and Power] were eating and putting on their skin was clean and organic and so they started to question how wine was being made, what’s inside it, and what impact was it having on their health and the environment.”
That line of inquiry set the Avaline co-founders down a rabbit hole. Could they have their wine and drink it, too? Yes. But there was just one caveat: they’d have to make it themselves.
Not a problem for the self-starters—Diaz is an award-winning actor and author, and Power, is the entrepreneur behind Who What Wear, Versed, and Clique brands.
“We choose to make wines with organic grapes and be transparent about what else is in there, so that consumers can feel confident that they are avoiding harmful or unnecessary extras whether that be added sugars, colors or concentrates, or animal by-products used in the winemaking process,” Kalvin said.
Transparency in wine is not required like ingredient labels on food. What brands disclose is entirely by choice and the overwhelming majority don’t disclose ingredients, growing, or fining practices.
“We saw such an opportunity, not only in offering a wine made from organic grapes with very low intervention and additives but also to create a brand that this modern consumer connects with emotionally through digital channels,” Power told Wine Industry Advisor over the summer.
The market opportunity appears to be there. Over the summer, Avaline announced the closing of a $9.5M Series A funding round led by Marcy Venture Partners, H Venture Partners, and Plus Capital. This round builds onto its seed round that pulled in support from Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Richie, as well as funding from VC partners Greycroft and Sonoma Brands.
The funding is going toward team development and retail expansion as well as the DTC platform, which flourished for the wine industry over the last 18 months amid the pandemic.
Sustainable partnerships, sustainable wine
Integral to the brand’s growth is its partnerships with winemakers and growers. In order for Avaline to be transparent with the consumer, this transparency and mission alignment starts in the vineyards. Its current offerings—white, red, rosé, sparkling, and now the Pinot Noir, are produced in France, Spain, and Northern California.
“We source with high standards always at the forefront,” says Kalvin, “from quality, organic grapes grown without pesticides, to sustainable farming practices and land preservation. We have an extensive checklist we adhere to when sourcing new partners.”
Earlier this month, Avaline introduced one of its newest producers, EthicDrinks, which makes the brand’s Red offering. Based in Bordeaux, France, EthicDrinks took a 2021 French government award for most sustainable wine packaging. It’s an exemplary partnership for Avaline; founder Mickael Alborghetti is a fourth-generation vineyard owner who’s driven by social and environmental causes. The winery eschews synthetic pesticides and animal byproducts. It offsets emissions produced in the winemaking process by planting forests in France. It supports efforts including WWF’s work to protect biodiversity across the region, and ocean conservation work led by Surfrider.
“We are always in the process of tasting the latest vintages from sustainable winemakers, and it was early this year that we connected with [Alborghetti ],” Kalvin says. “We loved the wines he had to offer and admired his commitment to the environment, and after many conversations back and forth about what our ideal red wine would be (and many, many tastings to get it just right), Avaline Red was born.”
Kalvin says Avaline was impressed by Alborghetti’s partnership with Centre Nationale de la Propriété Forestière, France’s National Center of Forest Ownership. “[I]t was one of the aspects of his business that appealed to us in the first place,” she says.
With the launch of the Pinot Noir, Avaline has its first varietal wine—a light-bodied easy wine. “Our community has been asking for a Pinot, and we’re excited to deliver on that especially heading into fall and the holiday season,” Kalvin says.
And like all of its wines, the newest addition is also vegan and organic, without compromising on flavor. “[O]ur wine standards and focus on transparency allows consumers to enjoy our clean and delicious wine with confidence,” Kalvin says, “and maybe even a little more because of it.”
Grab the latest from Avaline via the website.
And check out Avaline’s autumn wine spritz recipe here.