23 non-alcoholic wine brands, ranked from worst to best

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Acid League, the maker of Proxies, started in 2019 developing raw vinegars from fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. They continue to make these specialty vinegars in small batches for the very experimental chef. Along the way, fermentation experiments gave way to Proxies, which are both alcohol-free and explicitly wine-free. “Layered blends of juices, teas, spices, bitters and more designed to accompany food and be enjoyed in your finest stemware,” is how the drinks are described. There are currently seven types of proxies, all with moody names that give more flavor than actual description, such as “Velvet”, “Zephyr”, “Nightshade”, and “Moss”. But, what are they exactly?

Each of the Proxies is made up of a core group of components that includes a traditional winemaking grape, along with additional fruits like cherry, cranberry, strawberry, apple, grapefruit, kiwi, and more. Additional building blocks are broken down into ingredients that impart acidity, body, and spice. Emma Orlow of Bon Appétit writes: “There was all the complexity typically reserved for alcohol… [and] was much more interesting than other non-alcoholic drinks I’ve tried. It should be noted that even though the proxies mimic the live to pour and drink wine, they do not claim to perfectly replicate any particular type of wine.”

New flavors are released monthly and are available by subscription, but there is also a more semi-permanent collection which is available in four packs on the Acid League website or individually in stores.

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Jean H. Vannatta