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Eco-friendly wines and spirits that are good for the ocean

These top drops are making waves by supporting conservation efforts – and so can you, says Sam Wylie-Harris.


(Isle of Wight Distillery/PA)

With the summer holidays in full swing, chances are you’re heading to the beach and dipping your toe in the ocean.


And the beauty of being close to the sea and wading in for a swim is the hope and promise of a plastic-free coastline – by championing the preservation of the ocean, with a wine that supports marine conservation projects.


“We want everyone to recognise their influence on our ocean,” says Simon Rolfe, director, Sea Change Wine.


“Turning the tide on plastic pollution is a collective action – we encourage our customers to start this process with eco-friendly wine.”


By eliminating the plastic wrap around the cork, he says they’ve saved unnecessary plastic from being used on more than 1.4 million bottles.


Sea Change Prosecco, Italy, £13.99, Sea Change (Sea Change/PA)

Helping the ocean


“Each time you pop the cork and enjoy the bubbles, the ocean is benefiting as well as your taste buds,” says Rolfe.


Indeed, one of the charities supported by Sea Change, Ocean Generation is emphasising threats to our oceans through science and storytelling.


Founder of Ocean Generation, Jo Ruxton MBE, who produced the award-winning film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ says: “Our aim is to equip people to take action on a daily basis and make choices which have a positive impact – we want everyone to recognise their influence on our ocean.”

Wakefield Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet 2020, South Australia, £9, Tesco (Wakefield/PA)

Elsewhere, South Australia’s Wakefield Wines has partnered with Project Seahorse, a global authority on seahorse and marine conservation. Wakefield’s chief winemaker, Adam Eggins, says the winery has a unique connection to seahorses ever since fossilised seahorses were discovered on their property.


“Seahorses, like grapevines, serve as important indicators of climate-related issues,” says Eggins. “Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet comes with a QR that allows customers to learn more about their dedication to marine conservation.


“Every bottle of Promised Land contributes to the safeguarding of seahorse habitats around the world, including those of Dorset’s coastal regions in the UK.”


The Hidden Sea Chardonnay 2021, South Australia, £10, Co-op, in-store (The Hidden Sea/PA)

Another Australian winery leading the way, The Hidden Sea’s co-founder, Justin Moran, says: “We have a very simple mechanic for our wine drinkers – one bottle of The Hidden Sea equals 10 plastic bottles out of the ocean.


“The fact we’ve taken so much plastic out of the ocean – the equivalent of more than 23 million bottles – in only a few years shows consumers are looking to make better choices – and seeking out eco-friendly brands who can help them to be part of the solution,” says Moran. “It’s good to see other brands getting involved with similar causes, too.”


They also have intrinsic links to the sea, as their vineyards used to be covered by the Southern Ocean. “In fact, the whale on our laser-printed bottle is inspired by a real-life fossilised whale found under a nearby vineyard,” reveals Moran. “Pretty awesome!”


He continues: “It’s vital we act now to save the ocean and with every drinking moment, you’re creating a movement… cheers!”


Viña Esmeralda Deep Sea Edition 2022, Spain, £9, Tesco, in-store (Familia Torres/PA)

Another top pick with a picture postcard label, Vîna Esmeralda, from Familia Torres Wines, has joined forces with Gravity Wave, a social enterprise dedicated to cleaning the Mediterranean Sea.


“The Mediterranean Sea has a unique and special place in the hearts of many, and it’s no surprise Viña Esmeralda Deep Sea Edition has found a way to protect this beloved body of water,” says Kirsten Lord, brand manager for Familia Torres Wines.


“Not only does this delicious white wine capture the essence of a Mediterranean summer with every sip,” suggests Lord. “But with every bottle purchased, the equivalent of 10 plastic bottles will be removed from Mediterranean shores.”


Together with Gravity Wave, she says they’ve collected more than one million plastic bottles from the Mediterranean coastline to date – the counter gets updated every eight seconds and is now standing at 1,113,515 – you can track the project’s progress through Viña Esmeralda’s website.


Beyond the world of wine, Xavier Baker, co-founder of the Isle of Wight Distillery is taking part in the World’s Toughest Row this December to raise awareness of ocean pollution.


Rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in his boat, Mermaid Atlantic, with two team mates, Baker says the momentum is really building with only four months until they set off.


Mermaid Salt Vodka, £41, 70cl, Isle of Wight Distillery (Isle of Wight Distillery/PA)

“We aim to raise awareness and funds for three special charities including Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to support their Solent Seagrass Restoration Project, Surfers Against Sewage and The Seahorse Trust,” says Baker.


“Overall, we’re trying to promote sea preservation and conservation,” explains Baker. “The seagrass meadows here in the Solent and Studland Bay are vital breeding grounds for seahorses and a huge variety of shellfish and fish, as well as being a great sequester and sink of CO2.”


“The ocean is very close to all our hearts,” enthuses Baker. “We’re all water users and I grew up surfing here on the Island – you’re constantly aware of the pollution.”

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