Like the name suggests, Purple Reign by Masstengo Wines is a smash hit with wine lovers. In a time when wine drinkers are looking for new wines in local wine cellars, a purple wine is novel to bring to a BBQ lunch. Purple Reign uses natural plant-based antioxidants, to not only create the amazing colour, but also preserve the wine, all while minimising sulphites in the wine making process.
We spoke with wine innovators Tim Macnamara, and Rosco Stewart of Masstengo in March 2021 and asked them a few questions:
Question: Why purple ?
Tim: Necessity is the mother of all invention. After seeing all the chemical additives in wine, I researched high antioxidant natural plants, that may be used instead of them. I chose compounds that contained purple anthocyanins, turning the wine purple. I also noticed a considerable preservative effect, with wines lasting a long time in my fridge after being opened. I also noted my head was much clearer after much ‘testing’ of many batches.
Rosco: Purple is the traditional colour of royalty, and one of the hardest to find naturally. In antiquity it was derived from sea snails and was so rare due to the amount needed and difficulty in harvesting, that only kings and queens could afford it.
Question: What are Anthocyanins?
Tim: Purple coloured foods contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. A recent BBC online article talks of research linking anthocyanins to increased longevity, cardiovascular health, reduction in cancer and dementia prevention. Purple foods that contain anthocyanins include blueberries, sweet potato, beetroot, and pomegranates.
Rosco: Whilst Anthocyanins have been used for thousands of years as tonics in tea, colouring in rice and preservatives throughout the eastern world, modern research is just beginning to cite their potential benefits for commercial use in food and beverages. “Anthocyanins are colored water-soluble pigments belonging to the phenolic group which possess antioxidative and antimicrobial activities, improve visual and neurological health, and protect against various non-communicable diseases”. (Khoo et al, Food and Nutrition Research 61(1) 2017)
Question: What are some possible advantages in your new approach to wine?
Tim: There could be many: use of natural organic preservatives, reduction of artificial additives, less hangover, antiallergens etc. Our Taiwan import partner got in touch with us initially because it did not trigger his asthma, as other wines have. Bottle shops have also tested how long it stays fresh after being opened, testing it every day, and declaring it was still fresh after two weeks.
Rosco: Our ethos is to remove harmful preservatives like sulphur from the winemaking process and continue to develop new ways to do so. The motto of our company Masstengo is ‘Wine for a new world’ and we are trying to create new innovative ways of making wine without chemicals. We are also the first purple wine in the world so this modern FOMO driven market there is an upsell from people’s natural inquisitiveness and eagerness to try new things.
Question: Do you export your wines?
Tim: Currently we sell to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and we launch in the USA next month. It has proven hugely popular, with many other countries requesting it, and we have had enquires as far off as Macau, Denmark, Canada, Malta, Singapore, France, UK, Dubai, Malaysia, and many, many more.
Rosco: Interestingly Purple Reign is so popular in Japan that out distribution partners organised a special limited release with Sanfrecce Hiroshima Football Club, whose official colour is purple. The Sanfrecce release is J League endorsed and already sold 5000 bottles.
Question: What trends are you seeing in the marketplace for 2021 and beyond?
Tim: Organic, Preservative Free, and Vegan Friendly will continue to grow. Our two new red wines are due in August and will be all those things and also infused with our helpful antioxidants.
Rosco: Consumers will be looking for interesting new products that harness the power of nature, are sustainable, organically farmed, and free from harmful chemicals. Masstengo is on the same page, trying to find natural, sustainable, and innovative ways to push the boundaries of wine making.
The fearless team has no limit to their accomplishments ahead. Vision is sacred to those who truly believe and Tim is one of those few people who has the ‘the right stuff’.