IN CONVERSATION WITH: JUSTIN MORAN FROM THE HIDDEN SEA
If you're unfamiliar with The Hidden Sea wines, we are thrilled to be the ones that get to tell you about them (and sad that you've been missing out for so long).
The Hidden Sea wine company is a no-nonsense premium wine company carving out a new road in the wine industry. But these premium vinos are more than just tasty drops - they are part of a commitment to cleaning up our oceans. With each bottle purchased, 10 plastic bottles are removed from the ocean (as if we needed an excuse to enjoy a lovely bottle of wine). Whether your'e after a red, white or rosé - The Hidden Sea has something for every palette.
The Hidden Sea has joined forces with several organisations and engaged in collaborative partnerships to support innovative projects that protect our environment, with the most recent being ReSea Project. ReSea Project is committed to cleaning and recycling plastic from our ocean, as well as educating people about it. By supporting The Hidden Sea wine company and ReSea Project, you can join this effort to cleaning up our rivers and oceans and enjoy a nice drop while doing so (win, win!).
"We respect the history of our land and the marine life that inhabited the hidden sea. We are committed to creating a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world."
We were lucky enough to sit down with Justin Moran and get the full run-down on The Hidden Sea. Keep reading as we chat about all things from wine, to running a business, all the way to sustainability.
[TLSE] Can you tell us a little bit about how The Hidden Sea came to be?
[Justin] We were gifted our name and our incredible whale mascot by mother nature. Approximately 26 million years ago, South Australia’s incredible Limestone Coast was submerged by a vast ocean that was home to a thriving marine ecosystem. A series of dramatic ice ages caused the ocean to recede, leaving the area rich with deep limestone deposits containing majestic marine fossils. Ancient mineralised relics, and an extensive museum of marine life, now lay buried beneath the alluvial soils of this World Heritage site.
What was your biggest source(s) of inspiration when coming up with the idea?
Biggest source of inspiration is the protection of our blue planet. We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely we all have a responsibility to care for our planet. The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us. This is the driving force behind our brand.
What’s been the most rewarding part of the journey so far?
Three parts, one - building a tribe of people who believe in what we believe in and are cheering us on from afar by sharing our message and consuming our product, which has a tangible difference on our oceans. Two - being able to lead a movement, and positioning ourselves as a leader in ocean waste plastic removal. Three - making real change happen. This is not just about The Hidden Sea creating change, it is as much about empowering consumers to make change happen, and allowing them to feel part of something bigger than themselves.
What piece of advice would you give to new business starters?
Make sure you have unwavering values, a purpose that will drive your business for at least the next 100 years, a big hairy audacious goal, and an easy to understand and quantifiable consumer promise.
Are there any unexpected challenges you’ve faced so far? How have you overcome them?
Too many challenges and happenings to mention however they all pale in comparison to having the right attitude, which will overcome anything.
The link between the whale fossil and the soil is so fascinating - can you tell us about how it impacts the vineyards? One of these relics is the fossilised remains of an ancient whale which contributes to the rich, fertile soil in our vineyard. It also provides a natural and unique filtration system - perfect for growing the grapes that produce our award-winning wine.
What’s your favourite Hidden Sea wine (if you had to pick)?
The one I'm currently drinking.
Removing 10 plastic bottles from the world’s oceans for every one Hidden Sea bottle bought is an incredible venture, can you tell us a bit more about the process behind this?
We actually collect in kilos. Hence why in a messaging we say one case (6 bottles) equals the equivalent of 60 water bottles, as there is approximately 60 water bottles in weight to 1 kilo of plastic. 1 kilo of plastic costs The Hidden Sea €8 (approximately $12.50 AUD) to remove from the ocean. Our global ocean health partner ReSea Project is holding The Hidden Sea ocean health claim to account. ReSea Project is independently validated and verified via third party, DNV GL, who are dedicated and impartial experts that are setting Industry standards and best practices. The collaboration has produced the Global industry standard for the sustainable removal and cleanup of plastic from our oceans. ReSea Project becomes only the second organisation in the world to be certified after new standard of plastic recovered in oceans and rivers. (FYI the other organisation is The Ocean Cleanup.) We set an extremely bold goal on July 1 2020 - by 2030, with the help from our consumers, market partners, retailers, and people like you, we aim to remove 1 billion plastic bottles from our world’s oceans and recycle it. Feel free to track our progress here (you will also collection coordinates!). Once the plastic is collected by ReSea, they deliver it to the local waste banks in the area. These waste bank can be both privately or publicly run, but are all under authority of the environmental government in the district. The waste bank handles the recycling and waste handling of the plastic after ReSea have delivered it to them. Depending on the quality of the plastic collected the recycling rate can vary, however as a guide,
45% is going into renewable fuels
45% is able to be recycled, which is actually bought back by ReSea's Parent company Pack Tech & OWP
10% unfortunately is so bad it needs to go into landfill, however that's still better than floating in our ocean and rivers!
What does a day running The Hidden Sea look like?
Long, enjoyable, frustrating, gratifying….. with a generous sprinkling of fun!
Is there anything you’ve learned through owning a business that you didn’t expect to?
Expect the unexpected. In just the past 18 months we have endured bushfires, floods, coronavirus and a wine trade war with China. Take extreme ownership over all problems whether they're in your control or not. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, these wines look as good as they taste. Not only do they partner with sustainable projects, they also use both local and global artists to design their packaging, with previous partners including Xia A, Mikael B, Lushsux, and Layercake. So, grab a bottle (or 2), enjoy a tasty drop with someone you love - and feel good doing so!
WORDS | Britt Ross
IMAGERY | The Hidden Sea