What is “Clean Wine”?

avalineCameron Diaz and her business partner are on the hustings promoting their new product—something called “clean wine”. Here is how they describe this very sanitary liquid which is called Aveline.

Winemakers are legally required to disclose very little about their wines.  Those disclosures only reveal information such as growing and bottling locations, whether the wine contains sulfites, and the percentage of alcohol. There’s no obligation to tell you how their grapes are grown or to name any of the more than 70 additives that are used in the winemaking process to alter the taste, color, and mouthfeel of what is in your glass.

We believe in holding our wine to a higher standard. Here’s to a new class of beverage: delicious taste, clean ingredients, bold transparency.

Alder Yarrow calls this a “commercial scam” and has a comprehensive take down of their misleading claims on his blog.

Avaline wines are actually just commercially produced organic wines that have several more additives than many small-production winemakers would consider using.

Among the additives used to make Avaline are bentonite clay, sulfites (100ppm), pea protein, cream of tartar, commercial yeast, and yeast nutrients. As Yarrow points out, these are all unnecessary and countless small wineries forgo them to make their own “clean wines.”

That said, there are several things to like about Avaline.  They use organic grapes, they are vegan friendly, and they put on their website (although not on their bottle) the ingredients used to make the wine.

The problem here is that they imply that regular commercial wines are “dirty”. But that of course is not true. None of the ingredients used to make commercial wine will harm you and most can be found throughout the supermarket in other products.

There are lots of reasons to avoid commercial wines. All those reasons eventually lead back to “they’re boring” and most of them don’t taste very good. But “they’re dirty” or “contain too many ingredients” is not among those reasons.

The problem with commercial wines is they use inferior grapes and industrial farming methods, and their customers want exactly the same flavor every vintage.Additives allow winemakers to replace missing flavor and texture and achieve consistency. That isn’t particularly laudable but it isn’t dirty or sinister.


  1. Probably worth a try. Praise for a different marketing approach. If you like it, that’s all that matters. It’s your body chemistry, not anybody else’s, that tells you whether or not the wine is good for you, clean or otherwise. Also, apparently, the wine is made in Spain. Winemaking protocols might not be as strict in Spain as they are in America. Just Sayin. Enjoy.

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