Friday, December 9, 2022

The Beach Rosé By Whispering Angel Pours a Big One for Ocean Conservation

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With the launch of its Whispering Angel rosé, The Beach, Chateau d’Esclans is the first major wine label to partner with the Surfrider Foundation.

Not much beats a good beach day topped off with a glass of wine as the sun starts to set. But it has also become increasingly difficult to enjoy this idyllic experiencing without noticing the abundance of ocean trash. It’s nearly impossible to visit any beach without seeing plastic waste in the sand and water.

Chateau d’Esclans, the LVMH-owned rosé brand, wanted to do something about it. Enter: The Beach by Whispering Angel—a budget-friendly rosé that launched earlier this year. The wine, a fruit-forward blend of grenache, cinsault, and syrah, launched as a partnership with the grassroots nonprofit ocean conservation organization the Surfrider Foundation.

“The truth is, our oceans and beaches are suffering, the coral reefs are dying, and as a brand we knew we had the ability to impart change by making ocean and beach preservation a pillar of our new sustainability program.”

Paul Chevalier, vice president at Chateau d’Esclans,

“The creation of The Beach was rooted in our desire—and our necessity—to protect the world we live in, while still preserving our authentic Coteaux d’aix-en-Provence rosé,” Paul Chevalier, vice president at Chateau d’Esclans, told Ethos via email.

The wine is a retooling of the popular Whispering Angel rosê The Palm. But Chevalier says with the new mission for the wine, “we knew changes needed to be made beyond the wine’s moniker.”

Chateau d’Esclans x Surfrider Foundations

Chateau d’Esclans reached out to the Surfrider Foundation in hopes of supporting the group’s efforts with a donation and a partnership. “Now, we’re able to leverage both of our platforms to collaborate on regional beach cleanups and host events at Surfrider’s Certified Ocean-Friendly restaurants.”

In the spring, Chateau d’Esclans kicked off the wine’s debut with a volunteer beach clean-up in Malibu, Calif.

The partnership also includes “ocean-friendly” dinners in partnership with Surfrider. The organization has a network of about 1,000 Certified Ocean-Friendly restaurants across the U.S. The beach clean-up was followed with a cocktail party at one of the venues.

“The cocktail party allowed us to immerse consumers in the new ethos of The Beach, giving them a taste of our beloved rosé at a venue that’s aligned with our values,” Chevalier says. “Of course, our events always mirror the look and feel of our wines: glamorous, chic and tasteful.”

The Beach in Santa Monica
The Beach in Santa Monica | Courtesy Michael Simon

Like Chateau d’Esclans, the restaurants are committed to eliminating single-use plastic—a leading cause of ocean pollution. The goal is to develop long-term relationships with the restaurants, including a QR code on the wine bottles that connect consumers to the Surfrider website and its list of partner restaurants.

Chateau d’Esclans took its commitment to its own bottles, too. The Beach’s new, lighter glass bottle takes less energy to produce and will decrease the shipping carbon footprint. “Beyond the bottle, all of our branded marketing materials for The Beach will be made from 100 percent recycled materials, including towels and umbrellas made from repurposed water bottles and in-store displays constructed from FSC certified cardboard,” Chevalier says.

“The truth is, our oceans and beaches are suffering, the coral reefs are dying, and as a brand we knew we had the ability to impart change by making ocean and beach preservation a pillar of our new sustainability program,” Chevalier says.

French wine sustainability

In 2019, LVMH bought a majority stake in Chateau d’Esclans. The Moët Hennessy division has invested heavily in sustainable wine and spirits. Last year, it announced the €20 million Robert-Jean de Vogüé Research Center in Mont Aigu, France.

The new center is focused on the opportunities in microbiology and biotechnology; studying plant physiology to better protect against climate change; improved production efforts and engineering to increase winemaking and recyclability across the supply chain; and efforts to improve all brands’ quality and excellence.

The center and the Beach come as France—the wine capital of the world—is moving to make its vineyards sustainable. The French wine industry is currently valued at more than $9 billion a year. The National Wine Sector says half of French wine producers will achieve sustainability standards including organic certification by 2025.

moët hennessy sustainable
Courtesy Moët Hennessy

The French Ministry of Agriculture developed the Haute Valeur Environnementale or HVE (High Environmental Value) certification in 2001. It’s a three-tier system that encourages farms and vineyards to improve biodiversity and reduce the environmental impact of phytosanitary practices through managing fertilizer use and improving water management.

According to Chevalier, The Beach is just the beginning for Château d’Esclans. The label is working toward attaining its third tier certification by 2023. It’s also working to ensure that grapes purchased from surrounding vineyards for The Beach by Whispering Angel are selected from vineyards that conform to HVE certification.

“Our forward-thinking approach towards environmental responsibility with this release speaks to the current state of the environment and the interests of our consumers,” Chevalier says. “We’re really excited to continue to pave the way for rosés in this space.”

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