The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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Page 134 of 140

THE SKINNY Heaven PARADISE FOUND FOR LOW-CAL SEEKERS: HEAVENLY LIGHT WINES by Rachel Burkons / photos by Paul Perez C lose your eyes and imagine you're in heaven: Beloved childhood pets roam happily, warm waters lap at your toes and the wonderful glass of wine you're drinking won't cancel out all of those hours spent at heaven's gym. While memories of Fido may be all that's left of him and tropical vacations are not easy to come by, there is one slice of heaven that's become a reality, thanks to Heavenly Light, a new lineup of low-cal sippers that's shaking up the skinny category. Envisioned by a pair of wine-loving Italians whose families have been friends for years, Heavenly Light is the wine category's response to the booming demand for reduced-calorie beverage options—but without losing flavor and a robust alcohol content. "A few years ago, we looked at what was happening and saw that SkinnyGirl was out there, but there was no light wine," explains Carlo Fodera, co-founder of Heavenly Light. "There were some lower-calorie white wines before, but only with 8% alcohol," continues Fodera, a well-known tattoo artist whose passion for wine stems from familial roots in Italy, where several extended family members work in the wine business. "We knew that the American consumer would want something with a little more kick—so that's what we did." Traveling back and forth between New York and Italy, Fodera and co-founder Chiarina Argenziano began to search for the perfect production technique that would reduce calories and maintain flavor at a level closer to the average 13.5% alcohol content. "It took about a year and a half, but we did it," says Fodera. The solution? "We harvest the grapes two days to a week before they reach full maturity," he explains. "The longer they're on the vine, the sweeter and more flavorful they become, but they're also higher in calories at their most mature." Harvesting earlier saves calories, but thankfully, only lowers the alcohol content to 11%. "We catch the grape at the perfect moment to reduce calories while still maintaining alcohol content," comments Argenziano. A special fermentation process also keeps flavor high and calories low. Other than a small amount of sulfites (as in other wines), no additives or water are used. The Heavenly Light lineup. The label art was designed by co-founder and well-known tattoo artist Carlo Fodera. 126 / the tasting panel / october 2012 Just Like PHOTO: PAUL PEREZ

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