Non-Alcoholic Wine: Merely a trend or a new staple?
Long gone are the days of Dry January being the only motivation to put down your alcoholic drink and opt for a non-alcoholic beverage instead.
Whether a consequence of lockdowns or increased awareness of well-being and mindfulness, many drinkers have become more conscious of their drinking behaviours and more open to trying out non-alcoholic alternatives.
This has not gone under the radar of some of the major brands in the beverage industry, notably beers, with most of the well-known brands now offering alcohol-free alternatives to their flagship products.
While alcohol-free beers may have positioned themselves as reliable alternatives over the past years, alcohol-free wines have experienced a different challenge in their replication of the unique sensation and savour of “real” wines.
“Beer has lower ABV, bubbles, yeast, malt and hops make up for the flavour, and non-alcoholic spirits are mixed with other things to make wonderful cocktails,” says Ian Blessing, founder of All the Bitter.
There are many reasons why someone may not drink: maybe they’re pregnant, driving, underlying health reasons, religious beliefs, are enjoying an early morning start the next day, or simply don’t want to. Some may prefer the lower calories and sugar intake associated with removing the alcohol from their beverage.
Alcohol-free wines which taste just like their alcoholic counterparts are notoriously hard to make, especially if opting for vacuum distillation. This process removes the alcohol from the wine but preserves the original flavours.
Still, demand for non-alcoholic wine is consistently growing, with non-alcoholic still wine volumes increasing by 34% in the US in 2021 alone. Many alcoholic-free wine alternatives, including Noughty alcohol-free sparkling wines and others, are pushing the move towards a more flavoursome and savoury drinking experience. These wines are no longer seen as merely an “alternative” but instead have their place on the shelf next to their alcoholic counterparts and the beverage industry is starting to pay attention.
Opting for alcohol-free may not be for everyone. But for those with a desire to participate in the excitement of drinking a special something, alcohol-free wines represent an inclusive way of being part of the conversation without having to sacrifice other personal values or preferences.
Whatever your reason for opting for alcohol-free, we advocate simply enjoying its benefits and the opportunity to share a simple pleasures, celebration or ritual with those around you.