Wine that tastes good – and does good

Most wine lovers need no persuasion to believe that their favourite drink makes life taste a little better, but a new bunch of wines literally does give back to the world in good ways, if you’ll excuse the pun.

A 300 per cent increase in certified organic wine with BioGro NZ over the past 10 years is the tip of the iceberg. Another new wine brand is literally giving proceeds back to organisations with a modus operandi to help our ailing world. This new brand is called, aptly, “Tipping Point”. 

It’s the brainchild of Al Brown, chef, author and restaurateur, and Constellation Brands. When they launched their six new Tipping Point wines in lockdown this year, in mid-September, they donated $10,000 to each of six charitable trusts. 

Those trusts are The Bumble Bee Charitable Trust, Sea Cleaners, Kea Conservation Trust, The Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust, Wilding Free Mackenzie and Te Tira Whakamātaki. 

“This project has been about creating a wine that celebrates all that’s close to my heart – our regions, our land and bringing people we love together for a bite of something delicious to eat with a decent drop,” says Brown.

Another couple whose wines give something tangible back to the world is Pete and Alanna Chapman of Terrace Edge Winery in North Canterbury. They created the 27 Seconds brand to help end slavery after being horrified to discover an estimated 40.3 million people in slavery internationally, according to the Global Slavery Index. The name 27 Seconds comes from a Unicef statistic, which suggests 1.2 million children are sold into slavery every year – a shocking one person every 27 seconds. 

Then there is Kono Beverages. The impressively credentialled Rachael Taulelei is at the helm of this company, which makes Tohu Wines. Her raison d’etre is to ensure all production processes are both regenerative and compatible with the tikanga of Māori. The aim is to preserve and improve the condition of waters and soils in New Zealand by implementing climate-friendly practices and diverting agricultural waste away from landfills. Mussel shells composted onto vineyards is one example of an environmentally friendly cycle of production. 

“Most of us want to look after our environment and give back where we can,” says Brown, summing up the ethos of all these initiatives. “It’s pretty cool to know that every bottle of Tipping Point you purchase is going towards a good cause.”

It also feels good to know that each sip of an ethically produced wine can make a change for the better. 

2020 Tipping Point The Opportunist Syrah $35

Tipping Point Syrah delivers on all scores. Funky bottle design. Dark and delicious flavours taste like biting into a beautifully sun-warmed, ripe red plum on a hot day in Hawke’s Bay. Complex spicy flavours. Drinks well now and will reward ageing for three to four years.

2019 Tohu Whenua Matua Single Vineyard Albarino $30

Albarino is an old classic white wine in Spain which is having a new lease of life in NZ. It’s the name of the grape variety with naturally high acidity, which makes it taste refreshing, crisp and suits light-bodied, deeply flavoursome styles, such as this gold medal-winning wine with its green olive tang and salty notes – a great match with seafood.   

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