Today we’re going to have a fun, bubbly episode with pomegranate champagne called Pompagne. And a bonus is (for some, like myself) there is no alcohol in here. I’m going to have a chat with Lali Pellissier. She is the brand principal of Pompagne and we’re going to discover all of the different health benefits of Pompagne. Pomegranate is an ancient fruit and it’s also known as the apple with many seeds. Yes. So tell me about pomegranate champagne and why is it so unique. Our product is Pompagne and it’s unique because it is cold-pressed – it is 100% pomegranate cold pressed. I’m going to have to interrupt you here. Yes, okay. It was so wonderful when we met Johan, the farmer. Yes. And I asked him about his champagne and his extraction method and he told me that it was cold pressed – and I was impressed. And he couldn’t understand why I was impressed, because ‘how else would I get the pomegranate juice then, if I don’t cold press it’. So we mentioned that there is pasteurised and you use heat – and he was like totally shocked because why would anyone want to do anything other than cold press it. Because he realises the beautiful juice. The constitution actually changes when you pasteurise the product – and the taste, the taste definitely changes. You can taste the difference between pasteurised fruit juice and cold pressed. Yes, absolutely. Pompagne is just a premium product. It’s a lovely product, you can go to a party or an event and walk in there with a bottle of champagne and it’s non-alcoholic. Yes, so you can fool a lot of people. It looks like you’re having a nice drink. Yes, but if you really want to add alcohol, you could add some gin – it goes very well with gin. Okay. And vodka I’m sure as well. And vodka also very-very well and you can make a beautiful cocktail, non-alcoholic or alcoholic cocktail. And you’re getting your polyphenols in and your flavonoids. Yes. High in vitamin C. High in fibre. Potassium, high in potassium. High in antioxidants. Yes, it is a wonderful product. It’s tastes good. It tastes very-very good. So where does it come from? The product, Pompagne, is made in Wolesley. That’s in the Western Cape? Yes, in the Western Cape near the Ceres mountains. And it is made at a company called Pomegranate Dejuicing Company. They dejuice pomegranate juice and then send it away to the various juicing companies that sell their juices. But we wanted to do something with this wonderful health-ridden juice and not pasteurise it and we decided to make a champagne. And that increases the shelf life? Yes. Absolutely. Okay. Do you have to add sulphur? Yes, at the sparkling stage. At the end or where? Yes, right at the end. We only add a very tiny little bit of sulphur, this is just to curb or stop any possible spores of yeast that may be floating around. Yes, and that stops the fermentation in its tracks. Because the carbon dioxide preserves the pomegranate juice on its own. Exactly. The high acidity of the product (the natural acidity) and the carbon dioxide – we put 5 bar carbon dioxide in at the bottling stage – that definitely preserves that and also the little bit of sulphur. You’re going to need to tell me something about the process. Not all your secrets, but how do you make it? Yes, I’m not allowed to tell too much about the process. I tried! I’m not allowed to tell all our secrets, unfortunately. It’s quite an interesting process, it’s almost a little bit like wine making but the juice is kept at sub-zero temperatures. It’s kept cold and it takes about four to five months to get all the levels balanced. But do you get your pomegranates from all over the country? Well, we do get it from the Western Cape. But there are three cultivars that we use especially for this product. Right. And that’s also a secret. So Lali, you’ve had two harvests – 2016 and 2017. Yes. How are they different? What have you fixed? Well, our first product was actually made in 2013 but obviously we were still in the teething stages – some stuff went wrong there. And then the first really good one was the 2016. It’s now been in the bottle since 2016 and it is delicious. It’s more mature. It’s been filtered twice. It’s not as burgundy as the 2017, it’s a little bit more beetrooty – but very interesting taste. And then the 2017 was filtered only once, so there’s more fruit solids. You can see the sediment. Yes. And it’s also interesting to see how the 2016 harvest coloured the bottle red. Yes, absolutely. It’s lovely. I thought you had red bottles printed but it’s not. No. And you don’t waste anything, I believe. No, we don’t waste anything. We’re actually busy looking in to doing something with the peel as well, because the peel is also very high in omega 5s. Right. And what we do after the pressing of the arils – you call the little seeds arils – after that we put them out in the sun to dry and wash them, obviously, and then they’re pressed. And we get the most-amazing, cold-pressed pomegranate seed oil. Wow. And we are very excited about that. So am I. And that has to be something for another episode. Yes. It was lovely having you and thank you for my lovely cocktail, alcohol-free. Thank you very much.