Amanda Thomson, Skinny Prosecco
Amanda Thomson had a lightbulb moment when she came up with the idea for Skinny Prosecco. I had the good luck of tasting not only Skinny Prosecco, but Skinny Champagne and Skinny Champagne Rosé the other night. This sparkling occasion was the autumn wine and pairing dinner at Colette’s, one of the top restaurants in Hertfordshire, at The Grove, Chandlers Cross. I invite you to read my review. Before our five courses created by Russell Bateman to match our five skinny and delicious drinks, Amanda talked about how she had brought the brand to life – and to the shelves of Selfridges and now The Grove. I caught up with her after the party:
Amanda, congratulations on your success and your partnership with The Grove. I believe you are from Welwyn Garden City? Does the partnership with The Grove therefore have a special resonance?
It’s always nice to be in a familiar place! I haven’t lived in Welwyn Garden City for nearly three decades (which dates me a little bit!), but I enjoyed a tranquil childhood there in a town filled with tree-lined streets only a 30-minute train from London. I wish The Grove had been around then though. I’ve always had a lot of energy, and having 300 acres of grounds to run in might have made my mother’s life a little easier!
I imagine that lots of people love the thought of drinking something delicious with a ‘skinny’ label – I certainly felt that myself last night. Are you happy for people to call your drinks ‘diet prosecco’ or ‘diet champagne’ or is this misleading?
We think about ‘diet’ in that we are 100% committed to being transparent about ingredients. But Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco are sparkling wines with the regular alcoholic content and absolutely not about losing weight! If you are what you eat (and drink) then I believe it makes sense to think hard about every taste and sip. I personally prefer to drink less (but still drink!) the best quality available, and this is a sparkling wine trend that is really growing.
At the same time, can we say that your drinks are a healthier option – I think we can?
Not all calories are created equal, and if you can minimise your intake of processed sugar why wouldn’t you? Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco contains half the usual amount of sugar added during production, and Skinny Champagne contains no added sugar. We use the best quality grapes, harvest them when they’re at their best, and take our time in crafting grand cru and DOC sparkling wines.
Hearing that Skinny Prosecco is a bestseller in Selfridges, it’s easy to think that you’ve been an overnight success, but I think you’ve been working on this for a while?
Yes, we’re no one-night-wonder! It took just over five years from studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and meeting a phenomenal wine maker at a tasting to holding that first bottle of Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne. I am passionate about sparkling wine and wanted to make mine the very best it could be, and while the concept was an instantaneous ‘Eureka’ moment, crafting something exceptional took a lot longer.
Can you tell the Muddy readers about your ‘lightbulb’ moment – when you told the story last night I felt tingly all over, although I had just had a Skinny Prosecco and pear cocktail, but it was definitely your storytelling that made me feel excited, not just the bubbles.
Thank you! I am a journalist-turned-wine producer who gave up my broadcasting career in the UK to move to Paris with my young family to enroll in a wine diploma at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu. When I first heard about ‘zero dosage’ (no added processed sugar) champagne I knew I had found my calling. All my worlds collided: a passion for sparkling wine, a love of artisan-made produce, plus fitness and wellness. It’s been a lot of very hard work, but I’m just as passionate about Thomson & Scott as I was in that first lightbulb second!
And finally, as a successful business woman and entrepreneur, I imagine the ideas keep on flowing as quickly as the Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco did last night? What’s next?
Before starting my Thomson & Scott journey I didn’t think of myself as an entrepreneur. This is partly because there are so few female role models – there are still more men named David and Dave in the FTSE-100 than women – and partly because I loved being a journalist. But I’m driven, opinionated and have lots of energy, three attributes I think every entrepreneur needs. I’m currently focused on launching Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco in the US, and in promoting my wine label transparency message: there is no legal requirement to list all the ingredients in wine, and I think this is shocking. I’m setting up a foundation to help female entrepreneurs of the future, and this might end up being my real legacy. But anyone I help will always be rewarded with Thomson & Scott sparkling wines – I never tire of the sound of a popped cork!