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The former actress speaks about the enchantment and peace she’s found in the vineyards after leaving Hollywood. “My life is just completely different than when I was making movies,” she says.
Opening up a bottle of great wine at dinner with friends, or to end a long day on a good note, is something many of us enjoy, but have you ever really looked at the bottle, the ingredients in the wine, or the amount of sulfur added? That is the question Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power asked themselves one day in 2019 after enjoying a few glasses together at the former actress’s home.
“We were talking about how we were being more mindful about what was going into our bodies and on our bodies, and we looked at the wine bottle and were reminded that it’s one of the only consumables without nutritional facts or serving information,” Power says in a conversation with BAZAAR.com. “And we just thought, Hey, we’re buying organic groceries, we’re choosing clean skincare products and nontoxic household products. And [with wine], we just kind of said to ourselves, ‘This is just grapes, right?'”
“We’re used to turning a product around and going, ‘What’s in this?’ And it just isn’t a practice in the wine industry,” Diaz adds.
Driven by their desire to create more transparency in the industry, they came up with the idea for Avaline: a brand of clean wine, made with organic grapes and no secrets. The only problem was they didn’t know too much about the actual winemaking process or have connections in the very niche industry.
So Diaz and Power flew to Europe to meet with organic grape farmers and winemakers who specialize in the type of taste profile they were interested in. “We virtually and then physically knocked on doors to ask these people to work with us,” Power says.
“For our white wine, we really wanted something light and dry and crisp that was a little minerally, so we went to Spain, where they have limestone in their terroir and this inherent, mineral aspect to them. And we really wanted to make a very classic French rosé, so we went to France and found one of the most prominent rosé families in Provence and asked them to create a blend for us,” she adds.
After crafting their blends in Europe, they returned home to Los Angeles to work out the bottle design and marketing strategy—but it’s no surprise the former Hollywood star and the Who What Wear cofounder knew exactly what they wanted their brand to look like and the audience they wanted to target.
“We really made it for consumers like ourselves,” Diaz says. “Our first step with Avaline was to create a wine that had the standards of winemaking that we wanted, but also to really just speak to the customer who values that in what they consume—like us.”
They debuted Avaline in July 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, not even two years into their venture, their wines are in more than 5,000 retail locations in the United States, and they’re debuting a new look for their citrusy sharp white and their fresh French rosé: wine in a can. It’s not spiked seltzer, it’s not questionable flavored alcohol, it’s pure Avaline wine, unaltered, and in a “chic and cute” package, per Diaz.
“Honestly the cans are about convenience. The other night, I was meeting a girlfriend of mine that I knew wasn’t going to have any wine, and usually for a dinner, I would take a bottle of wine, but I knew she wasn’t going to have any. So I just grabbed a can and popped it in my bag and took it to dinner, and that was, like, the perfect amount for me for the evening, the perfect serving—and it literally fit in my fanny pack,” the There’s Something About Mary star says with a laugh.
Power nods. “It’s all I’ve been doing,” she admits. “Because it’s just so easy at the end of the day to pour myself a glass of wine and not open a whole bottle. It’s amazing.”
The canned wines are available online starting today, April 13, and the serving, per the founders, is a little less than two glasses per can.
While, in Diaz’s words, “Alcohol is alcohol” and “not a wellness category,” she says knowing that she and Powers created the best possible version of the drink they love, and which appeals to people now, makes them proud and happy.
“We’ve built a team around the two juxtapositions, like the new world of the wine and the new world of the social media, to really make it a fresh beginning for wine marketing for our generation, for our consumers,” she says.
“Our friends really appreciate it,” Power says with a laugh. “Cameron is a wonderful chef, and we love eating and drinking wine, and just really hanging out with close friends.”
The fact that the duo’s wine is made with organic grapes and sulfur levels at less than 100 parts per million (the amount of sulfur organic-grape wines are permitted to have) should be a selling point—and it can be, especially in California—but the term organic is also often stigmatized.
It’s true many prestigious vineyards in Europe have been growing organic grapes for their wines for decades, but, again, that information is not often clarified on the label, or promoted. In the United States, there are far fewer organic-grape wines, and Power says, “Historically, if you put organic in your label, you might end up in a weird section of the grocery store or people would assume it doesn’t taste good.”
Diaz says the stigma also comes from confusion: Organic-grape wine is not the same as natural wine, which is made without intervention or additives and can therefore yield unpredictable results. Avaline wines, while organic, do have added sulfur, to maintain the stabilization.
“The farmers that we are using for our wines are really highly regarded winemakers, and they’ve been in generational farms who’ve farmed organically most of their existence … and there’s so much reverence for a well-maintained vineyard, like the Côtes du Rhône, where our red comes from,” Diaz says. “And it’s amazing, too, because they’re generational farms. So everybody we met, all of our providers, all of our winemakers have grown up on those farms; like, in the homes and on the vineyard. That’s what they’ve done their whole lives. It’s so incredible.”
The winemaking business is a step outside the box for both Diaz and Power, but the longtime friends say it feels natural, joyful, and refreshing. “Wine is so symbiotic with community and friendships and celebrations, and that’s been really fun, to kind of rally around that,” Power says.
For Diaz, Avaline symbolizes a new beginning and a new future. “I mean everything about my life is different. The pace of this business is there’s something new all the time, so it keeps us pretty busy in what we participate in. But, yeah, my life is just completely different than when I was making movies. It’s just, I don’t make movies anymore, so it’s like my whole life is just like [opens arms as if to say, “This is what peace looks like”], just different. A lot less travel, a lot more sleep, my skin’s clearer because I don’t have so much makeup on all the time.”
Sorry, Hollywood, Diaz has been seduced by the vineyards—and who wouldn’t be?