Dry January is far in our rearview mirror, but a less alcohol-fueled lifestyle is still sought by drinkers across the country. Sunny with a Chance of Flowers, a low-alcohol, zero-residual-sugar, low-calorie wine produced in Monterey, Calif., by Scheid Family Wines, hits the target as an alternative for those who seek a healthier lifestyle but still want a complex and delicious wine.
In 1972, Scheid Family Wines was established in Monterey County by family patriarch Al Scheid. With the hope of establishing a booming wine industry in this lesser-known California county (compared to Napa and Sonoma), Al was a pioneer who realized the potential of this region with its wide span of climates, long growing season, and the opportunity for a diverse range of varieties with full-flavor potential. Fifty years later, his daughter, Heidi, helps lead the family business as both executive vice president of Scheid Family Wines and “Chief Sunny Officer” of Sunny with a Chance of Flowers.
Growing up around wine, Scheid knows that it is integral to people’s lives in many ways. We drink it to celebrate, to congratulate, or simply to enjoy and pair with food. But with so many wines on the market, it can be hard to stand out. Sunny with a Chance of Flowers has launched a high- quality, low-alcohol wine for wellness-conscious drinkers to have a viable lower-calorie option with the same body and complexity as its full-calorie counterparts. While most low-alcohol or zero- alcohol options tend to leave consumers wanting more flavor, Sunny with a Chance of Flowers has struck gold with five different well-balanced, zero-sugar, low-calorie (just 85 calories per 5-ounce glass), and low-alcohol wines.
You may be suspect (I know I was…), but Scheid and her team have created a great healthy alternative that stands out due to one overarching reason — the fruit. After all, great wine comes from great fruit. Winemakers the world over know there are plenty of ways to influence the outcome of a wine once the grapes are picked: barrel aging, adding staves, halting fermentation to increase sugar, cold stabilizing, etc. However, if the fruit is bad, the wine can only be so good. Sunny with a Chance of Flowers starts with incredible fruit from Monterey County, a region in California that is known for its cooler microclimates, which allow fruit to develop and grow on the vine for a longer period of time, resulting in wines that are complex, flavorful, and delicious.
To make these well-structured wines at 9 percent alcohol, Sunny with a Chance of Flowers goes through very similar steps of winemaking that other Scheid family wines do. The Sunny grapes are harvested at the same time and fermented until fully dry, producing an in-process wine blend. Here, however, things get even more interesting.
With their base wine made, the Sunny team then slowly begins to lower the alcohol through a process known as reverse osmosis. Essentially, because alcohol is less dense than water, it can be extracted from a wine while leaving all the tasty elements (tannin, acid, flavor) in the wine itself. What does this mean? The wines you get from Sunny with a Chance of Flowers are balanced, full of flavor, varietally correct (the Pinot Noir will taste more Burgundian than Russian River Valley, but no complaints here), and only 9 percent ABV.
On top of growing incredible fruit, the Sunny with a Chance of Flowers team also makes sure the land is treated with the utmost respect. The vineyards are certified sustainable, and that care continues into the bottle. Along with making wines that are low-alcohol, zero-sugar and low- calorie, they are also vegan-friendly and gluten free.
Having started with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, Sunny with a Chance of Flowers has recently added two additional offerings: Rosé and Cabernet Sauvignon. Every bottle is 9 percent alcohol and boasts only 85 calories per 5 ounce pour. The wines are just as delicious as others you might expect from the region and offer more interesting weekday dinner wine options when you might otherwise opt for lemon water or seltzer. Being outside the “normal” standards of wine, Sunny wines also allow for more interesting cocktail options. In partnership with Q Mixers, the two brands complement each other with various spritz options. The Pinot Noir makes an excellent base for a spritz (simply add Q Mixers club soda), while the Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect stand-in for a lower-alcohol Mule substitute when mixed with ginger beer.
This summer, we hope to be gathering together more and celebrating all the events that may have been on hold the past two years. This also means more toasts and cheers. Sunny with a Chance of Flowers gives you the option to imbibe with less fear of caloric consequence and enjoy these celebrations even more. You can find the whole line at sunnywines.com, as well as in Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, and many other retail stores nationwide.
This article is sponsored by Sunny with a Chance of Flowers.