Alison Mercer looks at the world through rosé coloured glasses

THINKING OUTSIDE THE SQUARE: Alison Mercer started wine-delivery business The Green Cube in January. Its official launch will take place at Newcastle's 48 Watt next week. Tickets are on sale now.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE SQUARE: Alison Mercer started wine-delivery business The Green Cube in January. Its official launch will take place at Newcastle's 48 Watt next week. Tickets are on sale now.

A passion for wine has changed the course of Alison Mercer’s life.

Once a primary school teacher, the mother of two now spends her days sourcing quality organic wines and delivering them to customers’ doorsteps. Her business is called The Green Cube and it will be officially launched at 48 Watt in Newcastle next week. 

Born and raised in Cessnock, Mercer attended Mount View High School and went on to study primary school teaching at the University of Newcastle. She now calls Pokolbin home.

“I loved my days as a primary school teacher but since having my own children I decided to venture into another passion of mine, wine,” she told Food & Wine.

“I know more than the average consumer but not through formal education. I’ve lived in wine regions all over the world where my husband was working harvest. I’ve also been lucky enough to live, work and party with Hunter Valley wine industry folk who have a generous reputation for educating the next generation with premium wines.”

The Green Cube’s broader aim is to encourage wine drinkers to make an educated, sustainable and environmentally healthy choice when it comes to deciding on a bottle.

“Australia is behind other nations when it comes to the quantity of organic farms but there is significant growth and interest in organic products including wholefoods, skincare, baby products and wine,” Mercer said.

“Unlike organic food, organic wine doesn’t mean more expensive. After researching brands to include in The Green Cube we’ve found some great quality wine at all price points. The wines we include range from $16 to $45 a bottle.”

The Newcastle wine tasting at 48 Watt next Tuesday, October 17, is just the beginning. 

“I kicked off in January and we’re building a community of organic wine lovers through The Green Cube product, events and partnerships,” Mercer explained.

“At our Newcastle tasting we want to deliver more than just good-tasting wine. We want to surprise wine lovers with worthy, innovative, organic or biodynamic brands that meet organic and biodynamic guidelines.

“Our main point of difference is that we introduce our customers to producers not represented in their local bottle shop. We meet passionate winemakers to hear their story and show the products they are most proud of.”

Tickets to the October 17 tasting at 48 Watt (5pm to 7pm) are $35 through eventbrite.com.au.  

Why choose organic wine? We ask The Green Cube’s founder Alison Mercer.

  • The wine industry, Mercer said, isn’t always transparent about the use of chemicals and additives in wine. Organic and non-organic wine “differs at the vineyard and in the way the wine is handled by the winery and at bottling”. 
  • Certified organic wineries “don't use synthetic chemicals in the vineyard or wine-making process. They replace synthetic chemicals with naturally derived products or techniques, like sheep or pigs to weed between the vines”. 
  • Organic wines also have “about half the amount of sulphur dioxide than traditional wine. That’s the stuff you can thank for those nasty hangovers”.
  • Does organic wine taste different? You may not see a difference in taste, Mercer said. The taste of wine “comes from the earth, the climate, the age of the vines, the quality of fruit that year and the winemaker's decisions”.
  • The Australian Organic and Biodynamic Standard requires all organic wineries to be certified and go through an annual audit to ensure that they comply.
  • Australian labelling laws demand that producers state the addition of preservatives, so check.
  • At The Green Cube’s official launch at 48 Watt on October 17 guests will be able to sample wines from labels including Stefano Lubiana; Kalleske; Krinklewood; Tamburlaine; Cape Jaffa; Gemtree; Frankland Estate; Pig in the House and a selection of certified organic international wines.