Here at Old Chapel Cellars, we’re proud stockists of Wild Life Botanicals – a non-alcoholic sparkling wine aptly described as ‘bubbles with benefits’. An exciting innovator in the growing world of ‘nolo’ brands, Wild Life is a Cornwall-based drinks company making waves on the distant shores of Australia and the US, as well as across the UK.
We met with Wild Life Founder Ellie Bradshaw to find out how she’s crafted an elegant and sophisticated drink to fuel a new generation of wild ones.
So Ellie, can you tell us how the concept for Wild Life Botanicals first came about?
As a full-time working mum and permanently on speed-dial as a ‘mum taxi’, my search for a sophisticated social alternative to traditionally high ABV wine, Champagne and Prosecco was left unfulfilled. Like most of us I enjoyed the feeling of ‘treating myself’ to a glass of wine – I still do!
Wild Life was born out of that feeling of wanting to indulge in something that makes you feel great, without any of the drawbacks. There’s something life affirming about ordering a bottle of bubbly in a bar or restaurant, chinking glasses with your friends, and brandishing those bubbles as the laughter flows… it’s hedonistic in a way that quietly nursing a lime and soda simply isn’t!
I’m not trying to convert the nation to teetotalism, I simply wanted to create a product which is a genuinely attractive alternative to alcohol – when for whatever reason or occasion you don’t want the alcohol.
Wild Life is a totally uncompromising product in the same way a premium sparkling wine is; in fact, when presented with a glass on ITV's ‘Love Your Weekend’ recently, Alan Titchmarsh announced that he’d happily choose Wild Life over a glass of Champagne! The quality, taste and overall experience is there to be enjoyed in every sip.
What kind of feedback are you getting?
We launched in 2019, appearing alongside Mark Hix at a food festival in Dorset, and here in Cornwall at the Cornwall Food and Drink Festival. Since then, it’s been non-stop, with some great coverage in the press and excellent support from the likes of Old Chapel Cellars, who wholesale Wild Life Botanicals to local restaurants, hotels, bars and cafes.
We’re finding that the products – we have Nude and Blush versions - appeal to a wide range of people. New mums, people with busy careers who want to keep a clear head, health-conscious calorie counters… Wild Life is for anyone who wants the very best from life without compromise.
How is non-alcoholic wine made?
Any beverage less than 1.2% ABV is classified in the UK as non-alcoholic. Wild Life contains just a touch (0.5%) of alcohol which adds viscosity and mouthfeel and also helps to carry the flavours on the palate. Putting 0.5% ABV into perspective – you’ll find more alcohol in an over-ripe banana!
Firstly, we source premium, full-strength 14% ABV single varietal base wine from a discerning group of wineries that produce dry and crisp wines which compliment our uplifting botanical, vitamin and mineral elixir. We then carefully spin the wine to remove the alcohol.
Using this patented, industry gold-standard technique ensures we retain all the natural characteristics, tannins and aromas of the base wine. The uplifting elixir is crafted in Cornwall, blended into the wine, a delicate bead of bubbles added and bottled in the UK.
Which botanicals are added?
There are five fabulous botanicals including Damask Rose, Lemon Balm, Rosemary and Ashwagandha. In traditional use, these are renowned for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, general wellness and mood-boosting credentials. Damiana is also added to Wild Life – a natural aphrodisiac and stimulant.
Wild Life is further enriched with eight active vitamins and minerals which also offer a multitude of health benefits. Zinc supports the body’s natural immune system, Niacin reduces tiredness and fatigue, Vitamin B6 bolsters your mood and Thiamine supports the heart.
Wild Life is 100% vegan, has 60% fewer calories than Champagne and every 125ml glass delivers a minimum 15% of your daily reference intake from the vitamin and minerals in the elixir. It really is #BubblesWithBenefits!
What’s next for Wild Life Botanicals?
Continue to fly the Cornish flag and make Wild Life as easy as possible to access! We’ve got some great brand champions helping us spread the word, and Wild Life is gradually finding its way onto wine lists at top restaurants and hotels, following in the footsteps of stores like Harrods, Daylesford Organics and Harvey Nichols.
We’ve complemented our product range with different occasions in mind. Our 20cl bottles are perfect for a cheeky mid-week treat – or when you can’t go fully Wild and open a 75cl bottle! Our 250ml cans will be available from the Spring - these are popular for picnics or where there is a ‘no glass policy’ at festivals, events and spas.
We’re very proud of our Cornish roots and have no plans to move Wild Life HQ from our base at Burncoose Nurseries. Our botanical-inspired branding features abstracts from ‘Eco System’ by local Cornish artist Sarah Trewhella. It’s the perfect reflection of our grounding here in Cornwall, and the energy and inspiration this part of the world provides.
Louisa – “When I first sat down to taste Wild Life Botanicals with Ellie, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a botanical, ultra-low alcohol wine made in Cornwall. However, from that first sip I was convinced she’d hit the nail on the head!
Wild Life is brimming with exotic scents combined with grassy, ‘English country garden’ notes of nettles, gooseberries and elderflower. On the palate both the Nude and Blush are dry and minerally with a long finish; the Blush has a touch of strawberry, red apple and rosehip, while the Nude has pronounced notes of juicy green grapes and zesty lime."