The vegan wine brand removing plastic from our oceans

Hidden Sea Wine has one, pretty simple mission: to remove plastic from the ocean. “We are not creating another drinking moment, we are creating a movement,” they say. 

The brand launched in 2015. Co-founder Justin Moran got into the wine industry a few years earlier – and it was by chance. While selling another business, he was presented with an opportunity to get involved with a dormant facility in the Limestone Coast in Australia. “I thought it’d be a cosy winery, but it was everything but that,” he tells Smiley News. “I had a passion for food and wine, but that didn’t drive me – it was the opportunity that did.”

Alongside his partner Richie, Justin wanted to develop a wine brand with a purpose – one where customers could feel part of something bigger than themselves. In the early days, it was more of a passion project, he says. But Justin and his team had always given back to ocean projects, such as Lonely Whale and Project Zero.

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However, he wanted more. Justin wanted to know exactly what was happening with the money Hidden Sea was donating to these projects. “I wanted to know the tangible impact the business could make,” he says. In early 2020, they started working with the ReSea Project, a community-driven Danish company operating in southeast Asia where much of the plastic waste generated by the developed world is shipped.

“We did all our due-diligence,” he says, “we wanted to make sure that before we shared more about our work with them, everything was done to a high standard and the impact we were making was quantifiable.”

In July 2020, the brand launched its new message: for every one bottle sold, they would remove (and recycle) the equivalent of 10 plastic bottles out of the ocean. The goal? To remove one billion bottles from the ocean by 2030. 

So far, Hidden Sea has removed the equivalent of 5.5 million bottles – that’s 100,000 kilos of plastic. And now, they’re chuffed they can directly show the impact their business is making.

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Each bottle has a QR code that you can scan, so you can see exactly where plastic has been removed, the number of bottles, and the stories behind it. 

“It was hard to get that tangible change until we met ReSea,” says Justin. “We couldn’t track with certainty. But now, we have a simple yet sophisticated operation. People understand what we stand for and they buy into the movement.”

In the UK, the brand is in Sainsbury’s, Co-op, and in Asda from next month. With Hidden Sea, you can get Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot, Sauvignon, and a rose. 

Everyone can relate to the environment, says Justin, but not everyone can relate to wine. Perhaps this is why Hidden Sea has such an engaged customer base. “People come up to me with passion about our brand because of why we do what we do,” he says. 

“Ultimately, our goal is to make the next generation’s life that little bit better. We have a responsibility as a business to make a difference and do good.”

“Oh,” adds Justin, “and the wine is delicious.”

Find out more about Hidden Sea Wine on its website