You’ve left your career as a primary school teacher to launch The Green Cube, which delivers premium organic wine to people’s doorsteps. Why?
I loved my days as a primary school teacher (kindy kids are the most revitalising medicine to me) but since having my own children I decided to venture into another passion of mine, wine. I’ve always liked the idea of creating and building a business so I’ve been searching for the right idea for some time. The freedom of being your own boss appealed, coupled with the ability to spend more time with the kids.
Your husband Aaron is winemaker at Tamburlaine organic wines. Is that how you got into organic wines?
I grew up in the Hunter Valley and worked in wineries there independently of my husband, however, he does have an infectious passion for quality winemaking. As for organics, it started in the South of France, where I worked on an organic vegetable farm picking, planting and learning the naturalist French way of life. My love of organic produce came from the simple joy of tasting delicious, summer food straight from the farm. It’s not until you taste a warm strawberry picked by your own earthy hands that you realise how food can - and should - taste.
Why are you so passionate about organic wines versus standard wine?
I love wines that are not only exceptional quality but are created with the health of our bodies - and our planet - front of mind. I’ve met some top growers and winemakers while building our partnerships who exude passion and authenticity. The word ‘organic’ isn’t just a trendy, buzz word for them, our partners live and breathe their products and practises - that’s why we work with them.
I love wines that are not only exceptional quality but are created with the health of our bodies - and our planet - front of mind.Alison Mercer
What has the consumer to gain by choosing organic wine?
Organic wine has a lot to offer consumers, especially if they do a little tasting ‘research’ to find a favourite drop. We are all looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint and choosing organic products is just another way. There is also the peace of mind that we are avoiding synthetic products used in non-organic farming.
And do those choices benefit the environment, if so how?
Yes, at the core of any organic farming is sustainability; preserving and rejuvenating the land.
What are some of the misconceptions around organic wine?
Twenty years ago some organic brands may have left a bad taste in the mouths of consumers, which is not the case today. Australian icons such as Grosset and Cullen have paved the way for organic wine producers, setting a high bar when it comes to quality. But it’s not just the expensive wines that taste good. 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.
Is the organic wine market growing in Australia and how do we rate to other countries to your knowledge?
In recent years in the Australian market, the number of producers making organic wine has doubled. Australian consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of organic produce and producers are trying to meet this demand. However, Europe and the USA have faster growing organic markets per capita.
Tell us about how your business works?
The Green Cube is an ethical, environmentally sustainable, no-fuss solution for busy people who just want to drink premium quality organic wines.
We handpick the finest variety of 9 organic wines, and deliver them straight to your door 4 times a year. No guesswork, no fuss, no more bottle-shop remorse. We surprise you with worthy, innovative, organic brands of sparkling, white, rose and red wine, according to drinking trends and the season.
How many organic producers do you retail; are they local or abroad?
Currently, we have dozens of wine partners although we discover new suppliers daily, so our brand partners are endless. Wines are primarily from Australia, along with select NZ and international brands. The Green Cube wants to support local Aussie producers but also educate our members through a global wine journey.
Beyond profits, what are your business goals?
I want to see more organic wine in Australia’s wine glasses. It’s a win for wine lovers, the industry, our environment and our palate.
What are your favourite organic wines?
In building relationships with producers, it makes this question tough because the people are just as important as the wines. Cape Jaffa from the Limestone Coast, Kalleske from Barossa Valley and Stefano Lubiana from Tasmania are some of my favourites this week.
Does drinking organic wine lessen a hangover?
For people sensitive to sulphur, maybe. Organic wines have about half the amount of sulphur when compared to non-organic wine but to set the record straight, regardless of your reaction to sulphur, if you drink a couple of bottles of wine – organic or non-organic, you’ll still feel it in the morning.