For our first three Proxies, we set out to take inspiration from classic wine styles: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for Blanc Slate, skin-contact Italian orange wines with Zest Contact, and Burgundian Pinot Noir with Cuvée Zero. But when it came to that last one, a pandemic-affected supply chain had other ideas.
When we couldn’t get quite the right fruits and spices we wanted, we changed course, just trying to create something uniquely delicious that had the characteristics of wine that make it pair well with food—tannin, acidity, structure, depth—but a flavor all its own. After all, no pinot noir we’ve ever tasted had notes of blueberry, mint, and sandalwood.
Instead, this was a drink that just happened to not have alcohol, designed to appeal to drinkers and non-drinkers alike. That path quickly became our guiding light.
We don’t want Proxies to just try to mimic wine—we want them to be the most interesting drink at the party.
Proxies are not meant to taste like wine, but they are intended to serve the same occasion, bringing the same complexity and ability to match with a wide range of foods, minus the alcohol. Traditional dealcoholized wine is always destined to be a less-than product, but by creating a beverage entirely from the ground up, blending juices, spices, herbs, aromatic roots, teas and more, we’re able to create something new, delicious, and with a character all its own.
The end result is something that can be an even better pairing than wine for your takeout tacos, for example—like Sunbeam, one of our subscriber-selected favorites of the year featuring mango, red pepper, lime, green tea, and hops. And by moving beyond the vineyard, we can explore uncharted terroir—as we did with Sauvage, creating our interpretation of our home Canadian landscape with apples, verjus, spruce, and cedar.
Thankfully, many of you were drawn to our new vision for the world of non-alcoholic wine alternatives.
Our journey is just beginning, but we’ve already become the preferred non-alcoholic option at some of the leading restaurants across the continent, including The French Laundry, Gramercy Tavern, Audrey, Majordomo, and Joe Beef. We’ve been featured in and celebrated by Bon Appétit, Wine Enthusiast, Food52, Epicurious, and many more.
And just one year after launching, we unveiled a collaboration with longtime subscriber and James Beard award-winning chef Sean Brock that’s the first of its kind in the non-alc world.
The most ambitious non-alcoholic beverage project ever?
Each month, thousands of people receive our monthly flagship Proxies Club sets, delving into what one writer recently referred to as “the most ambitious non-alcoholic beverage project ever launched.”
Sending three new flavors direct to your doors each month means we’ve made well over 30 Proxies in the past year, creating and constantly reinventing a new category all at once. Just like with wine, you may like some bottles better than others. But the joy lies in learning, exploring new taste sensations, and always trying to pair the new Proxies with the perfect meal. Thousands of others pick up Proxies every month by trying the Proxies Tasting Set or stocking up on their favorite flavors. Still others find us through our trusted retail partners across North America—a network that includes gourmet grocers, leading wine shops, and non-alc specialty stores.
What’s coming in 2022?
More Proxies, of course. More new flavors, more exciting collaborations with chefs, sommeliers, and winemakers. More restaurant and retail partners in new locations, to ensure you can have a great drink with dinner even if you’re not drinking.
We have big plans for the year ahead—and we want your help putting them together. If you’ve got ideas for the future of Proxies—flavors, collabs, store locations, whatever—send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re so thankful to have you along for the ride. Let’s build something delicious together in 2022.
Year of Proxies