Woke wines simply taste good – from paper bottles to vegan prosecco

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There was a time when being a true wine lover meant distinguishing your Bordeaux from your Burgundy.

But forget the talk of carafes and corkscrews. As young drinkers become more environmentally conscious, the hot topic is wines made with the health of the planet in mind, and with the booming demand, the market is growing rapidly. Welcome to the world of “bright” wines.

Since glass and transport account for at least 50 percent of the industry’s carbon footprint, woke producers choose environmentally friendly packaging.

This week, Essex-based winemaker The English Vine became the first in the world to commit to swapping all of their glass bottles for paper bottles.

It’s not just the packaging. Vegan wine lovers are also driving demand. Delevingne sisters Cara, Poppy and Chloe recently launched their own brand of vegan-friendly prosecco, and actress Cameron Diaz has her own “clean” wine brand in the US called Aveline.

But do woke wines taste as good as their old-fashioned counterparts? Our wine expert HELEN McGINN selects some of the best from the sustainable selection …

Domain Jones Grenache Gris

BOX WINE I WOULD ACTUALLY DRINK

Domaine Jones Grenache Gris 2.25L Bag in Box, £ 38.50, bibwine.co.uk

Bag-in-box wine had a bad rap for years because what was inside was sometimes undrinkable.

But for lovers of aroused wine, box wine offers one of the most sustainable packaging alternatives with a ten times lower carbon footprint than glass.

Now such companies are putting really good wines into them.

This comes from the Languedoc in France and although not yet certified organic, the grapes are sustainably grown by the winemaker Katie Jones. A fruity, flowery piece of jewelry that stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to six weeks after opening.

VINO JUDGMENT: 8/10

Della Vite Prosecco

Della Vite Prosecco

Celebrity vegan bubbles

Della Vite Prosecco, £ 19.95, dellavite.com

It’s no surprise that when the party-loving Delevingne sisters decided to turn their heads to wine, they went straight to the prosecco.

And this vegan-friendly offering (gelatin or fish is used for clarification in most wines) is pretty good quality, as befits the price.

Made by the Biasiotto family in the Veneto region, the winery is primarily solar powered and online purchases include a donation to the MyTrees charity to help protect five trees.

To drink it is fresh and frothy with soft pear fruits. Splendid.

VINO JUDGMENT: 7/10

Hidden Sea Chardonnay

Hidden Sea Chardonnay

SAVE THE OCEANS

Hidden sea chardonnay,

£ 8, cooperative

This Australian wine brand is committed to removing plastic from the world’s oceans, and for every bottle sold, ten plastic bottles are removed from the ocean and recycled.

The ReSea project hopes to remove and recycle a billion plastic bottles by 2030.

The label, laser-printed with organic water-based inks, shows a fossilized whale found among the vineyards of The Hidden Sea on the Limestone Coast in South Australia, oomph to the flavors.

VINO JUDGMENT: 7/10

Castellore organic prosecco

Castellore organic prosecco

SWEET TASTE FROM GOING BIO

Castellore organic prosecco,

€ 7.49, Aldi

The organic wine selection at this discounter is a hit and miss, but the hits are awesome.

This one is a real favorite, not to mention an absolute bargain.

Simply wrapped, it’s labeled Extra Dry, which means it’s a little sweeter compared to most of the others, but to be honest, it only makes it more drinkable.

No nasty chemicals are used in the vineyards so you can sip this in the garden and feel as complacent as Tom and Barbara from The Good Life, especially if you also grow your own vegetables.

VINO JUDGMENT: 8/10

No.1 paper bottle Bacchus 2020

No.1 paper bottle Bacchus 2020

PAPER BOTTLES FOR YOUR TIPPLE

No 1 paper bottle Bacchus 2020, £ 13.99, theenglishvine.co.uk

Founder Neil Walker’s mission is to remove all English wine he sells through his website from the glass within five years.

By bringing England’s first wine to market in a paper bottle (above), he goes the way.

The packaging is five times lighter and has an 84 percent lower carbon footprint than a glass bottle.

Inside is a deliciously crunchy white wine made from Bacchus grapes grown in Essex and it’s brilliant.

Just the kind of English Hedgerow-scented white I want when the sun is shining and the chips are on the table.

VINO JUDGMENT: 10/10

Big Heart Chenin Blanc 2020

Big Heart Chenin Blanc 2020

WINE STRENGTH IS EVERYTHING HEART

Great Heart Chenin Blanc 2020, € 14.99, Waitrose

The idea for this wine came about during the pandemic when South African winery owners Chris and Andrea Mullineux saw how hard their team was working under the challenging circumstances.

Wanting to reward them appropriately, Great Heart was founded, a workforce empowerment company that aims to improve the livelihoods of all employees and their families.

All profits go directly to the employees who both own the brand and make the wine.

And it’s fabulous too, rich and piquant with lemon peel aromas.

VINO JUDGMENT: 8/10

Phillip Schofield Bio Nero Di Troia

Phillip Schofield Bio Nero Di Troia

PHILS FLATWEIN IS A BELTER

Phillip Schofield Organic Nero Di Troia, £ 9.99, amazon.co.uk

The TV presenter and avowed wine lover Schofield launched his own box wine range on the market last year and showed his sustainable side.

Now he’s launched a wine in a flat, 100 percent recycled plastic bottle and it’s a belt.

With a smaller carbon footprint than glass, it also allows the manufacturer to put more wine on each pallet shipped, further reducing environmental costs.

Made from the little-known Nero di Troia grape grown in Puglia in southern Italy, this beautiful, soft organic red is filled with rich plum and blackcurrant aromas.

The bottle has a strange shape, but if you sip what’s inside, it’s quick to forget!

VINO JUDGMENT: 9/10

VEGAN CAN IS BRILLIANT

Nania’s Rosé Spritzer, 6 x 250ml, £ 24, naniasvineyard.co.uk

When James Bayliss-Smith and Shelley Nania inherited a 50-year-old vine in the garden of their Bristol home, it inspired them to start their own wine brand.

Their vegan-friendly canned wine is made from Essex-grown Rondo grapes, mixed with Glastonbury spring water, and infused with a raspberry bush to create a crazy but brilliant splash of rose.

Cans have a much smaller carbon footprint than glass and are infinitely recyclable. And even the labels are made with compostable cornstarch packaging. The wine is slightly carbonated and loaded with red berry flavors and a touch of sweetness. Joyful.

VINO JUDGMENT: 7/10

Helen’s book The Knackered Mother’s Wine Guide is out now (£ 8.99, Bluebird).

Nania's Rosé Spritzer - made from Rondo grapes grown in Essex

Nania’s Rosé Spritzer – made from Rondo grapes grown in Essex



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