Pernod Ricard has launched a unique product that combines two of the world’s most ancient beverages, wine and tea.
Tea & Wine launched this week with a white and a red variety, both infused with complementing organic tea. There’s the Unoaked Chardonnay with Egyptian Camomile blossoms and the Cabernet Sauvignon with Sri-Lankan Chai.
Speaking at the launch, spokesperson Helen Herges said the idea came spontaneously when a group of colleagues were discussing their plans for the weekend, all featuring either tea or wine.
“It turned out that those two beverages were serving the same ritual, the ritual of kicking off your shoes at the end of a long day and just enjoying. We thought – do you actually have to choose? Or could we combine the two? It made perfect sense to us,” said Herges.
However, it didn’t end up being that straightforward. The winemakers behind Tea & Wine spent two years perfecting their techniques and flavour combinations. While she wasn’t able to reveal their successful method, Herges described the many “spectacular fails” that lead to lots of lost wine.
“First, we tried the obvious. We were brewing tea and blending it into wine, and then we tried to brew tea in cold wine. Drinkable? Maybe, but not very great,” said Herges
“We then moved on to the little bit more ‘out there’ methods. We were drying grapes on a bed of tea leaves, inspired by the Amarone in Italy. We even tea smoked a barrel to finish the wine in, which was inspired by the Chinese tea smoked duck.”
Tea supplier for the brand is Corinne Smith, co-founder of The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar in Sydney. She said this first release is just a taste of what’s to come in the world of tea infusions.
“It’s exciting to finally see tea innovation in the spotlight. Now more than ever we are opting for higher quality and more unique flavours, and there is so much to explore and enjoy with this versatility of tea,” said Smith.
Tea & Wine first came on the radar at the Sydney Tea Festival in August 2018. Herges and Smith set up a stall with tastings of two white and two red tea infused wines. Using the feedback of tasters at the festival, they set out to create the “fan favourites,” which form the basis of the brand’s launch.
The first two wines are now available at select Dan Murphy’s stores across Australia, with Herges hoping to make further steps into retailing on- and off-premise in future.
“It’s just at those selected Dan Murphy’s stores right now, because they are the flagship stores where we can offer guided tastings and let people really experience the product. So we’ll see how that goes first,” said Herges.
“It would be great to see it at venues, like book store wine bars, a wine and painting night – that’s my dream. It’s not a party wine, and it’s like a wine that’s a warm hug.”
Tea & Wine have also worked with Ovolo Hotels to trial the new products for the month of September. From 7 to 29, Alibi Kitchen and Bar at Ovolo Woolloomooloo will offer a special “Wine Socie-Tea” high tea menu, pairing the wines with sweet and savoury canapes.