Guilt-Free Fizz! The Rise Of Skinny Champagne

TOAST chats to Amanda Thomson, founder of Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco, about her guilt-free fizz!

Christmas is a time for celebration, and nothing quite hits the spot like a delicious glass of bubbles. TOAST chats to Amanda Thomson, founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco, to hear more about her guilt-free fizz currently taking the world by storm.

There are a multitude of deliciously decadent and completely naughty edible sins out there, particularly at Christmas. From cheese and chocolate to mince pies and pigs in blankets the quite frankly obscene amount of calories is hard to avoid, but who cares? It’s Christmas! Of course, you’ll need a glass of champagne to wash that lot down with, but who knew that the fizzy stuff was actually packed with added sugar too? Amanda Thomson, founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco, is here to change all that.

"Like many people, I hadn’t realised how much sugar and other unnecessary additives were in what I was drinking. We're always asking what's in our food, but never what's in our bottle” she explains.

There is no legal requirement in most countries including the UK to list the ingredients in alcoholic drinks, so when I made this connection it became my mission to campaign for labeling transparency. It’s simple as far as I’m concerned - cut sugar, drink better, and look out for weird things in your wine like animal byproducts

Having been raised as a vegetarian by a ‘health-obsessed, muesli-selling’ mother, Amanda has always been passionate about food and drink, and despite having plenty of what she describes as ‘why can’t I have white bread like everyone else?’ moments as a child, nutrition and wellness are well and truly engrained in Amanda’s DNA. Her previous career as a BBC arts journalist might not seem like the most obvious route into entrepreneurship and sparkling wine, but once Amanda had developed a thirst for guilt-free fizz, there was no stopping her.

What do you do when you have a career you love? Move to Paris! I enrolled in a wine diploma course at Le Cordon Bleu - I decided that if I was going to be taken seriously as a wine expert in any capacity, I needed the facts to back me up” she explains.

I moved from the UK with my husband and two young children - it felt both completely mad and absolutely the right thing to be doing!” she adds.

At a tasting one evening I met champagne producer Alexandre Penet who makes the most incredible Champagne with absolutely no processed sugar added during production and it was a eureka moment. That was the genesis of the Thomson & Scott brand and its concept of ‘healthy hedonism’

And so, Thomson & Scott launched their first Skinny Champagne almost two years ago followed by their Skinny Prosecco in April last year, which almost instantly gained cult-status after selling out in its first week; it also continues to be Selfridges’ best-selling wine.


Skinny Thomson Scott

That makes me almost giddy with pride!” smiles Amanda.

Selfridges has always been my go-to for its food hall and designer fashion, when I can afford it! So getting recognition there is pretty special

Thomson & Scott’s fashionable fizz is now available to buy by the bottle (mini, standard and magnum, of course) at Harvey Nichols, Fenwick, Brown Thomas, Ocado and more, and directly from their website too, and it’s also served at some of the UK’s top restaurants, bars and boutique hotels.

Our wine fridge at home is usually always full of both Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco” Amanda laughs.

We’ve been known to keep cases of both under the bed when we run out of storage space!”

Both Skinny Champagne Grand Cru (12% ABV) and Skinny Prosecco (11% ABV) contain reduced sugar and low levels of sulfites, as well as no additives like animal-derived by-products or harmful pesticides. They are produced using a revolutionary and proprietary vegan process in order to reduce the sugar content; the Skinny Prosecco is made with 100% organic Glera grapes from the foothills of the Dolomites, close to Soligo in North East Italy and Skinny Champagne is made exclusively for Thomson & Scott by master Champagne maker Alexandre Penet (who Amanda mentioned earlier) in Verzy, France.  Each contains between 0.1g-7g of sugar per litre, considerably less than standard varieties.

Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne Grand Cru was my first sparkling wine baby. It took about five years from learning about ‘zero dosage’ - which means no processed sugar added during the production process - to holding the first bottle in my hand” Amanda explains.

I then realised that the same principles could be applied to my other favourite sparkling wines, including Prosecco. Our Skinny Prosecco fills an obvious gap in the market because Italy has been sending the UK its inferior quality, over-sweet bottles for far too long, while keeping the best stuff for itself!”

3Different Skinny Prosecco

In theory this all sounds like a terrific idea and is definitely making me very thirsty, but what about the cold, hard facts? Is there really that much sugar in normal Champagne? Is there so much less in Amanda’s Skinny versions that it makes a difference? Is this new generation of low-sugar fizz good for us? Expert Amanda is quick with the facts.

Ultimately, we shouldn't be drinking alcohol - it's not good for us. But if you are going to drink, then I think we should drink better quality products with less crap in it!” she explains.

I think that most people don’t consider anything about their drink except its alcohol content which is fine, but once you learn that Champagne can contain 50 grams of sugar per litre – that’s around 12 teaspoons - you do start to question things a little more…

I have to say that the thought of 12 teaspoons does make me feel a little queasy…and it is something that Amanda also feels very strongly about.

As far as I’m concerned processed sugar is the devil - it’s behind everything from our obesity epidemic to osteoporosis, and is almost as addictive as crack cocaine! So, for a start, if you can enjoy a treat of Skinny Champagne that has the same alcohol content as regular Champagne but without the potential of sugar craving – that, in my opinion, is a good thing

Quite often, when a product is labeled ‘diet’ or ‘skinny’ – it can mean that it has instead been loaded with some strange cocktail of chemicals in order to make it supposedly less fattening, but I am happy to report that this is not the case for Amanda’s innovative fizz, far from it; both the Prosecco and Champagne are strictly made to only natural and traditional methods.

We’re still talking alcohol, and would certainly never promote any Thomson & Scott sparkling wine as a diet drink. However, to promote transparency we note the calorie content on our bottles - Skinny Prosecco contains 66 calories per 100ml” explains Amanda.

Additives are only really necessary when you are mass-producing sparkling wine as quickly as possible and want to cover up inferior taste. We harvest the best possible grapes at the optimum harvest time, and treat them with the love and care we’d give to our best friends! That way the grapes combined with the skill of the winemaker does the work for us, without us having to add extra processed sugar or nay other additives in order to create flavour

Ah yes – flavour. Very important. We all know that there almost always a difference when it comes to taste of a full fat product vs. a diet alternative…so how about Amanda’s fizz? Can you taste the difference?

We’re certainly dryer, but with the characteristic sweetness associated with Champagne and Prosecco. Our bottles are known for their fresh taste” she explains proudly.

Aside from the benefits of consuming less of the sweet stuff, all Skinny products are also free from animal-derived by-products making them 100% vegan. It’s an unpleasant thought that most wines and fizz do in fact contain animal products, but as Amanda explains this is a less than widely-known fact.

Most people are surprised when I say our products are vegan. People assume wine is just grapes and alcohol - no one considers that a lot of wine is not vegetarian, let alone vegan” she explains.

I grew up vegetarian from birth, and animal welfare has always been important to me. And while I don’t judge anyone who eats meat, it wouldn’t make sense for me to make sparkling wine that uses animal products because they just aren’t necessary

As CEO and founder of the company Amanda’s role is varied, demanding and incredibly busy. She lives in London but is travelling at least a third of the time, and when I ask what her plans are for the New Year she smiles and says ‘nothing less than world domination” – and I believe her.

Aside from being allowed to drink Champagne and Prosecco as part of the job, I just love running my own business. I work 24/7 and wish there were more days in the week, but in an era when there are still more men called Dave or David running FTSE-100 companies than women, I’m passionate about helping support women in business” she explains.

I wonder - when it’s part of the job - is it humanly possible to grow tired of sipping the fizzy stuff?

Getting sick of Champagne for me would mean getting sick of parties, or eating good food, or hanging out giggling with a friend! So no, I can’t imagine ever getting sick of it” she enthuses.

And speaking of parties - the champagne season is well and truly upon us, and the multitude of Christmas parties may well (or should I say inevitably) lead to perhaps one of two hangovers. However, I have heard a rumour that a night spent sipping Amanda’s guilt-free fizz can reduce the amount of discomfort (to put it lightly) that one might experience the next day…

Not being a medical person, I couldn’t possibly comment! But processed sugar can have a very dehydrating effect, and dehydration is one of the causes of a hangover…” Amanda explains.

We also contain as few additives and chemicals as possible, both of which also contribute to a hangover. Trying out a comparative test would certainly be a fun way to spend an evening! But I'm not sure about the morning after!”

Hangover or not, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without corks popping and the fizz flowing. Champagne, Prosecco and pretty much anything that sparkles has an enduring, timeless glamour, not to mention deliciousness; it always feels like a treat, and adds an instant sense of occasion to any stylish event. Amanda wholeheartedly agrees, of course.

Sparkling wine really is a party in a bottle. I adore it, and always will!” Amanda enthuses.

It’s glamorous because of the relative rarity, the association with celebrating special occasions, classic film stars, and simply the effervescence. Bubbles are fun! And when they are combined in a deliciously pure sparkling wine, what’s not to love?”

Bottles In Ice


I love waxing lyrical about wine, while also realising that much wine terminology makes no sense at all! But for what it’s worth –“The base wines used in the blend for Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne Grand Cru Brut come from the chalky slopes of the Grand Cru village of Verzy, famous for producing expressive Pinot Noir. Reserve wines from older years make up 30-40%, adding complexity and richness. Expect intense aromas of brioche and nuts with a touch of spice and white pepper"

Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne Grand Cru Rosé is made with the same grapes as Skinny Champagne Grand Cru Brut, with a higher proportion of Pinot Noir, delivering aromas of redcurrant and raspberries with a subtle, spicy touch.

Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco is an organic, vegan Prosecco produced from grapes grown on south-facing slopes in the foothills of the Dolomites, close to Soligo, North East Italy. It’s fresh tasting and fabulous as an aperitif, with seafood, and – my favourite! – for parties!

For Amanda’s top tips on serving up champers like a pro at home this Christmas, as well as a delicious cocktail recipe using Skinny Prosecco, then don’t miss TOAST’s Fabulous Fizz Inspire Me over on TheEdit this week, and for more info on Thomson & Scott you can find their page in TOAST’s Little Black Book.

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