Amanda Thomson, 40, quit BBC job to become a winemaker in France
- Was inspired to create low-calorie drink after knocking back fizz at parties
A former BBC presenter is taking on the French at their own game by launching a sugar-free champagne.
Amanda Thomson was inspired to create a low-calorie version of the luxury drink after her job as a showbiz reporter made her worry about gaining weight from attending VIP parties.
So she left her job as a journalist at BBC London and moved her family to Paris, where she studied under one of the world's pre-eminent wine experts.
Ms Thomson, 40, has just signed an agreement to get her products into a top-class restaurant in the New Forest, and is hoping to bring it to leading mine merchants across the UK.
New career: Amanda Thomson left her BBC job to become a winemaker and is now launching a low-calorie champagne made without added sugar
'I developed a love of champagne when I was working as a showbiz reporter in London and basically lived off fizz and canapés as I was at parties and events all the time,' she told the Evening Standard.
Last year, Ms Thomson graduated from a wine course at the elite Cordon Bleu cookery school.
She was then hired by the Penet family to create a 'zero dosage' champagne at their vineyard in the Champagne region of north-east France.
Zero dosage fizz does not have sugar added during manufacturing, unlike traditional champagne.
Harvest: Workers in the Champagne region gather grapes for making sparkling wine (file photo)
Ms Thomson's wine has just 60 calories in each glass - significantly less than the 100 calories found in most sparkling wines.
'The French don't really care about calories, but it's proving to be very popular in Britain and in the emerging Asian markets,' the budding winemaker said.
'It has an amazing taste but without the calories, which women in particular love.'
The Alexandre Penet Zero Dosage Extra Brut champagne retails for £49.95 online.
Ms Thomson recently agreed a deal to stock the wine at Hartnett Holder & Co, a new restaurant in the New Forest helmed by Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett.