You can now buy sustainable eco-wine – and it even helps clean up our oceans

What is the first memorable moment of enjoying a nice glass of wine at home?

No, not the taste, or even the glug of the bottle or pop of the cork — it’s removing that annoying bit of plastic or tin wrapped tightly around the neck.

Why is this so-called capsule even there? For some countries it is required but not in the UK and for a new leading eco-wine brand, it was the first thing to go.

With the average Briton consuming an equivalent of 120 bottles of wine a year, it’s easy to see that hundreds of millions of pieces of unnecessary waste are hitting our bins annually in the name of a nice tipple.

‘Progress in terms of environmental challenges isn’t going to come from a handful of people living a strict lifestyle, it is millions of us making better choices,’ says Simon Rolfe, co-founder of Sea Change wine.

The eco-wine idea was born after a chance conversation about the news coverage of the impact of plastic on the planet’s oceans, between Toby Hancock and Bill Rolfe — who founded parent company 10 International over 15 years ago — and Simon and Ian Hanley, who run the UK side of the business.

One of the first wines made by 10 International was a rosé called Pink Elephant, with some of the proceeds going to charity Elephant Family, so the company was familiar with the concept of giving back.

‘We wanted to create another wine that is a product with a purpose,’ says Simon. ‘Many of us at Sea Change have young families and wanted to do something that gave something back in the long run.

‘What we do [as a business] does matter and it’s also for our friends and family and children.’

With the Sea Change wine in concept form, Simon met up with Jo Ruxton, founder of Ocean Generation, a global charity that helps to educate people on the threats to the world’s oceans.

Jo produced a jar filled with plastic, including lighters, printer cartridges and various other chunks of waste. She asked Simon where he thought it had come from.

‘I thought it had probably come from a beach clean but then she told me it was found in the stomach of a sea bird. That’s when it really sank in.’

Sea Change partners with Ocean Generation on a global scale, and with local charity partners in the 15 countries in which its wine is sold. In the UK, Sea Change has teamed up with Sea-Changers.

It is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic, nearly half of which is packaging, is used every year in Britain. On UK beaches there are 5,000 pieces of plastic and 150 plastic bottles for each mile. Since 2018, more than 150,000 euros (£128,000) has been donated to charity from the sales of Sea Change wine.

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