Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power Were Grossed Out By What Was In Wine, So They Made Their Own
For these best friends and business partners, their new wine brand, Avaline, is a labor of love – they even used a baby-naming site to come up with it.
Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power say they forged a friendship over their shared love of wine and wellness. (The actress and entrepreneur met through Nicole Richie, Diaz’s sister-in-law and one of Power’s friends for two decades.) Over drinks one afternoon a few years ago, they realized that while they had switched to eating organic food and using clean skincare, they didn’t actually know what was inside the wine they had been drinking for half their lives.
So they decided to educate themselves on the commercial winemaking process — and were pretty horrified with what they discovered. “It starts in the vineyard, with the land, with how the grapes are cared for from the moment they come onto the vine. If you're not drinking wine with organically grown grapes, you’re drinking pesticides — it's nothing you want inside of you,” Diaz tells InStyle.
While she thought wine was a relatively healthy booze choice — "my whole life I thought it was just fermented grapes" — she discovered that it can be manipulated with over 70 additives. “When your mouth turns purple from drinking red wine? That's not natural. That's a coloring called Mega Purple,” Diaz says. Plus, wine isn't traditionally vegan-friendly, she adds. “People just assume the wine they’re drinking is vegan. Most wines are not — they're filtered through either egg whites or fish bladder lining.”
The women switched to organic, naturally produced wine found in a local specialty shop, and the results were “life-changing," Power says. (TBD on whether natural wines without additives actually improve hangovers, but many converts claim they feel much better after making the switch.) “It changed the way we felt both physically and mentally. But the problem was that it was really hard to find. We felt like we could solve the supply chain issue and make it available to people everywhere.”
So, they spent the next two years developing their own brand, relying on each other's complementary skillsets — Diaz has penned two wellness books while Power has built successful brands including WhoWhatWear and Versed Skincare. "Cameron can talk to you about the microbiology of the soil and the way everything is grown, and that's where you lose me. I'm kind of like, okay, let's get to the gross margin," Power jokes.
The end result: A wine that checks all of their boxes — clean, vegan-friendly, made with organic grapes, and free of unnecessary add-ins like sugars, colors, and concentrates — with a label that prominently displays the ingredients. “In the wine industry, there are no regulations, there's nothing that says that the label has to be transparent about what's inside of it,” Diaz says. "We think our consumers deserve that."
While celebrity alcohol brands (and even celebrity rosé brands, for that matter) can feel like a dime a dozen these days, the pair prides itself on their passion and involvement in the project. "This is definitely not a licensing deal; we're not just putting our name or face on a product," Power says. "It's been a long journey around the world to find the best winemakers for the taste profiles that we wanted, that met our health criteria. We literally knocked on doors in France and Spain and Italy."
Recalling one whirlwind trip to visit vineyards, they say the most relaxing part was eating cheese on their flight. Once they arrived, it was far from a low-key girls' weekend. "We had three days to basically get through France and Spain. We had so much fun, but it probably isn't as glamorous as you would think. We were up at 8 AM testing a hundred different wines, which for us, who knows what time that was — and spitting into a bucket [laughs]. It was quite an experience."
For the best friends and business partners, Avaline is a labor of love. In fact, they used a baby-naming site to land on the perfect 'strong but feminine' name, Power says. "We had so many sessions searching for the name, it was crazy. There are literally hundreds of thousands of wines out there, so all the names were taken," Diaz adds. "I have pages and pages of baby names that we went through, and this one was the one where we were both like, 'Yeah, that's it.'"
The two joke about finally popping out their baby, but on a serious note, they admit there's significance in two women creating a wine brand now, in an industry still dominated by men.
"While there are some exemplary women in the wine industry, we certainly hope female leadership becomes more prevalent. To date, it’s largely an industry run by men, which we saw as an opportunity, not a barrier," Power says. "We know how to make products that modern women crave, and hope our involvement contributes to more female-led brands."
Although COVID has changed their launch plans — there will be no big celebratory party — “we’ve been able to share it while visiting select friends and practicing social-distancing," Diaz says. "The response has been just as we had expected: ‘It’s the perfect rosé!’"
Avaline White and Rosé (SRP $24) are available for purchase at wine.com and in select retailers in 43 states.