Where were you before Misty Cliffs, and what inspired you to enter the world of non-alcoholic wines?
After completing my university education in South Africa, where I was born and raised, I emigrated to Boston in 2002 and began working with the top importer of South African wines. Over the course of 15 years working in the wine industry, I developed a deep appreciation for the 'magic' wine can create. For me, it’s all about elevating experiences, creating connections, and enhancing beautiful meals. For a few years, I had an itch to create a healthy wine alternative that would not compromise on taste…which led to the creation of Misty Cliffs.
The collection is sourced from a variety of coastal vineyards. How do you approach partnering with wineries for non-alcoholic wines, specifically?
First and foremost, our partners must have high-quality standards and be willing to go the extra mile for the specific requirements of non-alcoholic wine. Considerations related to growing season and fermentation become especially important for achieving our final product.
Can you share a bit about what each terroir brings to the Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, and Cabernet expressions, respectively?
Vines that struggle often produce wines with more character and better flavor development. Many of our vineyards are located near the coast, subject to harsh growing conditions without irrigation and exposed to strong winds. These conditions typically result in smaller berries and more intense flavors.
Our Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from cooler climate coastal vineyards, primarily in a town called 'Darling.' This region provides excellent acidity and minerality. Our Rosé and Cabernet-Merlot wines primarily come from the Swartland region, renowned for its remarkable soils and home to many of South Africa's leading winemakers. Our Rosé exhibits delightful strawberry and floral notes, accompanied by red berry fruit, and a touch of sweetness on the finish. The Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot offers a flavorful and smooth experience, with dark berry fruit and spice, and beautifully layered tannins on the finish.
We’re big on food pairings here—we’d love it if you shared a few of your favorite go-to’s.
The acidity of Sauv Blanc balances well with creamy goat cheese or spicy Thai foods. Our floral Rosé pairs delightfully with seared salmon or brie cheese. Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot pairs well with meat as well as tomato-based dishes. I especially like our red with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
What unique challenges have you encountered in creating non-alcoholic wines that don't exist in traditional winemaking?
Picking dates for our base wines is a true art (i.e., determining what our regular alcoholic base wines taste like before we gently remove the alcohol)—this is left up to our winemaker and viticulturist. Thankfully, we could not be in better hands than with our winemaking team, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with them.
Misty Cliffs prides itself on being a premium option in the NA world. What sets it apart from other options?
I believe it is a synergy of various components and experience. The foundation for everything begins with the right vineyards. Then, having one of the most experienced and talented non-alcoholic winemaking teams in the world—we’re proud to bring over seven years of expertise in production and sales in over 20 countries to the table. Our team has learned many valuable lessons over the years.
The NA world continues to flourish and grow, and we’ve been inspired by each unique approach and reason for drinking dry. What has your experience with the community been like?
I'm amazed how quickly 'dry' drinking has become mainstream with consumers. Just a few years ago, it was considered uncool for people to abstain from alcohol at parties or restaurants. Last week, a Michelin-star restaurant emailed us to taste our wines because they are creating a dedicated non-alcoholic pairing menu. This year, the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), the leading training body for wine sommeliers, chose the thesis topic of 'non-alcoholic wines.’
Our motto at Boisson is seeing the Glass Half Full. How do you think alcohol-free alternatives like yours allow people to see the glass half full?
Whether people are looking to drop alcohol for one night or forever, they should not have to sacrifice the ability to be their best. Misty Cliffs offers delicious and elegant premium non-alcoholic wines to be enjoyed. Cheers!