For everyone who wishes they could enjoy the intensely-flavored grape varietals traditionally reserved for wine – but without the alcohol, Sonoma Valley-based winemaker Georgos Zanganas has launched H2O Sonoma Soft Seltzer, a sparkling “alternative” beverage featuring 0.0% alcohol. H2O is the world’s first wine-infused no-alcohol sparkling refreshment.
“People everywhere need an exceptional alternative to wine,” Zanganas says.
“We’ve created H2O for those who can’t drink for health reasons, athletes who wish to stay in top form, women who are pregnant, and for the many others who simply must reduce or eliminate their alcohol consumption. Many of our customers are now blogging about their tremendous appreciation of H2O during recovery, and as part of their ongoing sober lifestyles.”
The idea came to Zanganas while he was pouring samples of his traditional wines at Whole Foods in 2020, chatting with customers. Some customers explained that what they really wanted was a high quality, alcohol-free, wine-themed alternative beverage they could drink anywhere, anytime – and especially at parties so that they could fit in, rather than feel singled out for avoiding alcohol.
“We were watching the boom in no-alcohol drinks, and low-alcohol drinks, as well as the rise in popularity of seltzers,” Zanganas says, “yet there was nothing – anywhere – available for people who love the incredible flavors of varietal wine grapes but don’t want the inherent issues of alcohol. We listened, and delivered an exciting, delicious new refreshment. We are receiving requests from around the world, from Europe to Asia. Moreover, since H2O contains zero alcohol, we can export literally everywhere – and have already received distribution inquiries from such no-alcohol nations as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, etc.”
“My team and I have been making great wine for decades, focusing on the subtle flavor nuances that make a wine truly exceptional,” Zanganas says. “It is the inclusion of these subtle flavor essences from our favorite wine grape varietals that makes H2O Sonoma Soft Seltzer so innovative and exciting.”
H2O is mineral-rich, sparkling water infused with dealcoholized premium wine made from 100-percent California varietal wine grapes, with natural flavor extracts and electrolytes. “We also infuse H2O with key antioxidant vitamins, potassium, and calcium, for nutritional and hydrational benefits,” Zanganas explains, adding, “We are not attempting to replace wine. H2O is a delicious, hydrating, standalone refreshment that pays homage to the incredible flavor profiles of some of our most cherished grape varietals here in California.”
“H2O provides the nuanced flavor of Sonoma, California fine wines, and yet it is also refreshing. H2O is reminiscent of wine, but is light, effervescent, and hydrating,” says Zanganas, adding, “H2O is what to drink when you’re not drinking.”
Jenn Kautsch, founder of SoberSis, is a popular and respected leader and pioneer in the sober living community. “H2O Sonoma Soft Seltzer is such a delicious, beautiful beverage to add to my alcohol-free fridge! I love it!” Kautsch says, continuing, “I love knowing that it’s made from premium California wine grapes, but without the alcohol – and with nutritional benefits added. This is the perfect drink. H2O Sonoma Soft Seltzer is what to drink when you’re not drinking!”
Ranae Dei, one of H2O’s many impassioned customers who is pregnant, comments, “My mom introduced me to H2O during the beginning of my pregnancy. With all the holidays coming up, she recommended H2O to quench my thirst and keep me part of the party. And it was a hit at my baby shower.”
Zanganas is also proud of the extensive market research and science behind H2O. During the brand’s development, Zanganas enlisted professors at California Polytechnic University for research so that H2O could provide ideal nutritional enhancements and hydrating benefits. The University experts also conducted market research before H2O was launched. Find CalPoly’s H2O announcement here.
“Cal Poly’s peer-reviewed papers acknowledge the nutritional benefits of H2O – and show what we’ve already discovered, that the marketplace is ready and eager for H2O,” Zanganas says.
H2O is currently available in four varietals: rosé, moscato, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. H2O will release additional new varietals in 2022, including cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, and zinfandel.
“Why do we use grape varietals historically reserved for wine, instead of table grapes?” Zanganas asks, answering, “Because the flavor profiles are far superior. Common table grape varietals are bland – they pale in comparison to the flavors of wine varietals. That’s why you don’t see Thompson seedless wine or Concord grape wine. It’s never been fair to those who don’t drink alcohol that they couldn't enjoy the intense, sublime, concentrated flavors of the many unique varietals traditionally reserved for winemaking – incredible and nutritious gifts from nature that we should all get to savor. Now they can – with H2O.”
H2O provides electrolytes, potassium, calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B12, with no gluten, no detectable sulfites, no added sugar, and no artificial sweeteners. Zanganas points out that wine grapes naturally contain powerful antioxidant health benefits, as well, according to researchers.
“Fermentation in winemaking is what converts grapes into alcohol. That winemaking process is what creates such complexity, depth, and nuance in wine flavor profiles,” Zanganas explains. “So, at H2O, we begin with high quality California wine, to achieve all that complexity. The alcohol is gently removed with reverse osmosis. Next, we blend this dealcoholized wine with pure water, antioxidant Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, and extra potassium, for ideal hydration benefits. In contrast, drinks with alcohol are dehydrating. Our mission at H2O – and my mission personally – is to create and provide a delicious and health-conscious, natural alternative drink, one that we can all enjoy drinking anytime, anywhere,” Zanganas explains, “and we are thrilled to have achieved that with H2O.”