Cameron Diaz and longtime friend Katherine Power were frustrated. Like many wine lovers, they sought certified-organic juice with minimal additives, but the wine world's notoriously lax requirements for ingredient labeling often left them flummoxed. So the global megastar actor-producer and fashion entrepreneur decided to make their own line of wines, called Avaline, featuring a French rosé and Spanish white. The Los Angeles–based duo are the latest to join the A-list of new celebrity winemakers, from athletes to actors to hip-hop icons, while looking to separate themselves from the pack by explaining their wines' organic certifications, vegan-friendly processes and emphasis on minimal use of additives like sulfites.
Both Diaz and Power started loving wine from an early age, along with the culture that came with it. When Diaz lived in Paris when she was 19, she learned to "drink wine like the Europeans," with every meal, she told Unfiltered via email. "It’s about the pleasure of the food and wine together rather than drinking to get drunk," Diaz said. "I’ve gone through different phases of trying different spirits, but I always came back to my first love: wine."
Diaz and Power began their Avaline journey in April 2018, seeking vineyard managers and wineries that saw eye-to-eye with them on their goals. "Finding the right partner started with finding someone who was already making wine that met our criteria: organic grapes, vegan-friendly and as few additives as possible," Power told Unfiltered via email. "From there it came down to the taste profile of the wine and the ability for the winemaker to grow with us." They found their winemaker matches in Provence and Penedès, in northeastern Spain, and paid visits to the vineyards and cellars to develop the wines.
So how is a wine "vegan-friendly"? Most wines go through a process called fining, which clarifies the wine by removing unwanted particles and sediment. While egg whites, isinglass (derived from fish bladders) and casein (milk protein) are among wineries' options for fining agents, Avaline uses bentonite clay and pea protein.
As for organic grapes, Avaline's source vineyards have met the requirements restricting pesticide and chemical use to get certification from their local authorities: Paris-based Bureau Veritas for the pink wine and the Barcelona-based Catalan Council of the Organic Production. (Both wines also received a nod of approval from the USDA, which recognizes these international certifications.) The wines also come out of the cellar with less than 100 parts per million of sulfites. Though these practices aren't new, they aren't easy either, and the process taught Diaz about the obstacles to making the type of wine she'd sought. She now recognizes "the time and financial investment it takes" for vineyards to go organic.
Diaz says she is currently planning to release more wines later this year. Avaline is now available in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut stores, and also online, at $24 a bottle.
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