Proxy Wines – Botanical Drinks That are Changing the Game

"Wine is bottled poetry"

Robert Louis Stevenson

Tasting something for the first time can be a wow experience. Flavors explode in your mouth and taste buds send signals to your brain trying to figure out what you’re tasting. You quickly compare it to similar stuff that you’ve tried before, only to realize that even though there are certain similarities, it is something new - and it’s different.

There are three approaches to making non-alcoholic wine. First there is unfermented grape juice that tastes like grape juice, plain and simple. Then we have the dealcoholized wine that  is made the same way as traditional wine, only the alcohol is removed at the end of the process. This option tastes much like traditional wine, but without the alcohol. The third approach which is in the spotlight today, is crafting wine alternatives, also known as wine proxies. This is something completely different. These blends don’t taste like wine, but are designed to be a perfect substitute for traditional wine at any wine occasion.

By definition, a proxy is someone authorized to represent someone else. This is a fitting term for a beverage that is not wine, but the perfect wine replacement. The blends are bottled as wine and they are intended to be served in a wine glass. They have tasting notes and pair well with food. They mimic the wine experience, but they don’t emulate the taste of traditional wine. Actually, producers of these beverages resist having their products associated with traditional wine with alcohol. They want to provide the world with a wine alternative that can stand on its own and be a wine substitute, not a traditional wine imitation.

So what exactly are these unique blends and how are they made? Wine proxies are layered blends of fermented fruits, teas, spices, roots, bitters, and more, that have the complexity of wine, but none of the alcohol. Fruits and berries bring the core flavor and citrus, verjus, and various infusions bring a wine-like acidity to the blend. Aromatic spices, roots, and herbs bring terroir and depth, and culinary techniques such as carbonic maceration, wood smoking, and lacto fermentation boosts flavor and texture. Producers like to look at composing a drink the same way a chef looks at a dish, or creates a recipe, prioritizing flavor and balancing sweetness and acidity.

Wine is complex, all the flavors, aromas, and textures tell a story. Just like poetry, it’s all about conveying a feeling, telling a story or just capturing a perfect moment. Same is with wine alternatives, wine proxies - only without the alcohol.

If you’re looking for a unique and delicious beverage, for your next celebration, or dinner with your loved ones, or just to enjoy on your own, we recommend that you check out our high-quality selection of proxy wines by the producers Muri, Gnista, and Arensbak. Have an open mind, don’t expect it to taste like traditional wine, and we're sure you will find a new favorite to put on your dinner table.

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