Cameron Diaz's Wine Brand Is Not Only Organic, but France and Spain-approved
The actress and her collaborator Katherine Power told T+L all about the process of making their wine, Avaline.
Cameron Diaz's latest venture into the wine business is something we can all be happy about amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Along with her collaborator and friend, Katherine Power — founder of fashion site Who What Wear — the two launched organic wine brand, Avaline earlier this month with the intention of providing vino lovers with organic, quality ingredients. Complete with two varieties, a white and a rosé, the duo made it a point to be as involved as possible with the process.
"When we began our journey creating Avaline we had absolutely no knowledge of how the alcohol business worked," Diaz told Travel + Leisure. "But Katherine and I are both solution-oriented, we look at issues that are challenging and we immediately go to, 'How do we make this work?'"
And when it came to naming their product, the Charlies Angel star has said while promoting the brand that Avaline was found in a list of baby names — which is quite fitting as Diaz is a new mom to 7-month-old baby Raddix with husband Benji Madden.
“Avaline just looked beautiful," she said of discovering the name during a recent appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers. "The meaning, which is sensitive, humble, and lively...really felt like it embodied what we wanted for our brand to sort of, you know, be, so we ended up with Avaline.”
Diaz and Power recently chatted with T+L about how their wine came about and its creation from grape to glass.
Travel +Leisure: Why did you start the wine brand and what was the process behind it?
Katherine Power: As regular consumers of wine, we felt compelled to learn more about what was in our glass. We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure we are consuming organic food, using non-toxic household products, and buying better-for-you beauty, yet, we realized we didn’t know what we were drinking, since there is little to no transparency on wine labels. Once we learned more about the winemaking process and commercial farming practices, we knew we had to bring a cleaner offering of delicious wine to the masses. We also saw an opportunity to connect with the modern consumer in a way that this industry is struggling to do. I have had great success creating digitally-born, community-first brands, and pairing them with outstanding retailers to bring new products to market that will make an emotional connection with consumers.
Cameron Diaz: Just as Katherine said, in our day-to-day lives we made the effort to consume organic foods and use clean products. So when we found out what might be in the wine we were drinking, we wanted to make sure that we found wines that were free from those ingredients and most importantly made from organically farmed grapes. But we found it really difficult to identify those wines unless we went to specialty wine shops. We wanted to create a wine that not only met the standards for all other products we consumed; we also wanted to make it accessible and identifiable.
T+L: What were some of the most challenging parts of this process? Especially launching this during a pandemic?
KP: It has been like learning a foreign language. It is a very interesting, old fashioned industry with lots of rules and regulations around how the wine is sold, but very little regulation around how it’s made or what information is disclosed to the consumer. That’s why transparency is such an important foundation of our brand.
CD: The current world we are all living in today is unprecedented, so we knew that we would just have to be patient and thoughtful about when was the right time and the appropriate way to introduce Avaline to its new consumers.
T+L: What has been the most rewarding part of creating Avaline?
KP: The most rewarding part has been the immediate and positive reaction from the consumers. As with the disruption of any industry, we knew we’d be met with judgment from the traditional wine world, but we are very confident in knowing what is right for the modern consumer.
CD: What’s been rewarding about creating Avaline is first how delicious the wine is. Along with the wine having to meet the standards of being organically grown grapes and the absolute minimal ingredients used in the winemaking process. We knew that if the wines were not delicious it wouldn't matter what standards we toted. Being able to provide a product to consumers that we both know so well is very gratifying.
T+L: How did you conduct your research?
CD: Most of the research that we did was done here in Los Angeles. We met with anyone and everyone that we could that could teach us either about the winemaking process or the alcohol industry. We identified wines that we both loved drinking that we knew met our standards and then we reached out to the winemakers to ask if we could come meet them and share with them our mission.
They are all generational farms meaning that all the winemakers have grown up on the farm as their fathers did and their father’s father before them. Katherine and I were so grateful that they allowed us into their homes and onto their vineyards, wine caves, and their winemaking facilities. We got to see everything from their tasting rooms to their bottling facilities. Seeing with our own eyes the soil and vines that our grapes come from and the care that they are given, and to experience the passion that our partners have for their life's work was incredible.
We hope one day that we will have a chance to participate in a harvest. That would be the ultimate experience for me to get to lend my hand in some part of the actual process of winemaking. And it does of course start in the vineyard!
T+L: You've both traveled the world. Is there a country where you remember the wine being particularly great or just having an experience around wine that was great?
CD: I don’t think we could beat testing our wines for the first time in the wine tasting rooms of our partners in France and Spain.