If anyone knows about the finer things in life, it's basketball icon Isiah Thomas. For years, he celebrated his grandest achievements with the most decadent foods and beverages. And while there's still much to celebrate, he now does it with Cheurlin, his champagne brand with zero sugar and no sulfates. In a new video, he tells us how he did it—all without losing an ounce of taste.

Audarshia Townsend, Content Director, Food & Beverage Insider

December 5, 2022

1 Min Read

When most people envision decadence, champagne is likely to come to mind. That beckoning pop of a bottle of bubbly signifies good times ahead, yet NBA legend Isiah Thomas thrives in keeping the good times—without the decadence. 

That decadence is sugar, the ingredient you won't find in Thomas' premium Cheurlin Champagne. It's the brand he's owned since 2016 when he bought the grapes from the Cheurlin family's estate vineyard, which has been around since 1788. The veteran athlete, who also considers himself a serial entrepreneur and healthy eating advocate, saw an opportunity in the adult beverage market to offer American consumers a sugar-free champagne. During the interview, Thomas discusses the following:

-the process in selecting the rare grapes chosen to produce the zero-sugar champagne

-the process used to produce the low-sugar rosé champagne, which is an unconventional method

-why his champagne line is comprised of all "first press" grapes and how that affects taste and quality of product

-an explanation of why no sulfates are in his products and how sulfates affect the quality of the product

-the process of how Thomas brought the brand to the United States

-how he's joined forces with NBA players and other groups to promote the brand

Watch the video below for the entire interview.

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About the Author(s)

Audarshia Townsend

Content Director, Food & Beverage Insider, Informa Markets

A lifelong Chicagoan, Audarshia Townsend is an award-winning, veteran food and beverage journalist who serves as the content director for the Food & Beverage Insider brand. She is Informa Markets' 2024 "Star Storyteller" winner. Her experience as a visionary editor and writer spans 30 years, with an emphasis in print and digital magazines. Audarshia's professional passion is to champion and amplify underserved business communities. Some of her most recent content includes her review of 2023's F&B trends, the future of food science careers, an interview with culinary star Padma Lakshmi, and Pescavore's sustainable ahi tuna jerky strips. She also appears regularly on local and national media outlets to discuss food and beverage trends, most notably FOX-32 Chicago, WGN-TV, WXRT-FM, NPR-Chicago and the Travel Channel. She is often called on to serve as a judge for prestigious food, beverage and restaurant awards, including the James Beard Foundation, NEXTY Awards and Black Women in Food. She continues to write for Chicago magazine, and previously she has written for the likes of the Chicago Tribune, Eater Chicago, Esquire, Essence, Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Time Out Global and World’s Best Bars. With food and beverage being her longtime, chosen beat in media, she has created content for a number of prestigious brands such as AOL, Google, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, Lexus, MasterCard, Markon Cooperative Inc., Miller Brewing Co., Resy and Simplot Foods.

To date, Audarshia has guest lectured at the following higher-education institutions: Columbia College Chicago and Loyola University Chicago for undergraduate journalism students; Northwestern University for graduate journalism students; and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) for undergraduate, graduate and PhD food science students. She also mentors aspiring young writers and journalists whenever she can. Email her at [email protected] and also connect with her on LinkedIn.

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