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low- and no-alcohol

This is very much a current trend, but it certainly isn't going away anytime soon.

We are increasingly being asked for lower alcohol options, so while we are doing our best to find you quality wines lower in alcohol, we thought it would be good let you know how these wines come about…

Firstly, let's look at the word ‘low'. A subjective term but legally speaking low alcohol has a 1.2% ABV limit and no is .05% ABV limit. Making these wines can get quite technical but the main processes involve starting with a regular wine and removing the alcohol. A couple of methods can be used here;  you can filter out the wine compounds then take out the alcohol via distillation before adding the wine compounds back in. The other involves spinning wine in a centrifuge.

Secondly, we have to ask how do these wines differ in taste? As a result of the process you tend to get diminished aromas, and in red wines fewer tannins. Alcohol is integral to the mouthfeel and balance of the wine we know and love, so when it is gone it can be tempting to dismiss low and no products as ‘not real wine'.

We have tasted many low and no alcohol wines and, as wine lovers, we have yet to find wines to sit comfortably on our shelves. Rest assured we are still looking and there are more and more options coming to market.

As a company we are aware of this of this trend, and along with many other wine professionals in the market, we are championing wines that are less in alcohol content than others; for example Lehman's Riesling from Eden Valley 10.5%, Novas from Portugal Vinho Branco 11.5%, Rieslings from Germany from 10.5%, from Italy Cortese white 12.5%  and Sanvigilio Merlot 12.5%. to name a few.

Our search for great wines is continuous, including those of low/no alcohol status. We will stock such wines when they become more like wine as we know it. In my old-fashioned mind, wine is the natural fermentation of fruits with a little help from the yeast agent when fruit sugars turn into alcohol. In my opinion, to subtract alcohol from wine does not make a pleasant alternative, as yet. The search goes on. Watch this space…

Last Updated: 11/02/2020
Author: John Hattersley

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