Review

The rise of low alcohol wines

December 8th 2017 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru / 0 comment

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They’re popping up in supermarkets everywhere with price tags to match their lower alcohol content. What’s with the buzz though? We found out

It’s highly likely that if most people were asked if they wanted a low alcohol wine a decade ago, they’d be answered by a chorus of “What’s the point of drinking it then?” To be honest, I probably would have been one of them (I was 21 and it was my third year of uni...). However now, the drinking landscape’s very different than it once was with more and more young people turning their backs on alcohol and seeking drunkenness-free alternatives instead. Low alcohol wine is in high demand and more and more are gracing our supermarket shelves to meet the growing interest.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 19% of young adults aged 16-24 said they didn’t drink alcohol ten years ago. Last year though, that number rose to 27%. However, as explored in our article on mindful drinking and sober curiosity, it’s a trend being observed across all age groups thanks to the current wellness boom and growing interest surrounding healthy eating. Our appetites for aperitifs are dwindling and brands and shops are increasing their product line-ups to suit our changing taste buds as a result.

Which supermarkets are stocking up on them?

Tesco is particularly impressive in this regard. Containing 0.5% ABV (Drink Aware defines a low alcohol wine as containing between 0.5% and 1.2% ABV), the supermarket offers a Sauvignon Blanc, £3, Garnacha-Rosé, £3 and Carbenet Tempranillo, £3, in addition to new releases, a Sparkling Rosé Wine, £3.75, and Sparkling White Wine, £3.75. Also on its shelves you’ll find Rawson’s Retreat’s low alcohol range, £4, that also caters for the 0.5% crowd.

The New Year looks to build on this further with Marks & Spencer adding two white and rosé 0.5% Australian wines into the mix in January and for those who want a little more buzz for their buck, Aldi will be welcoming a new lower alcohol, low calorie 5.5% Featherweight range, £2.99, to its renowned wine portfolio too.

What do they taste like?

Experts have noted that alcohol is an essential component of wine and that without it, it could compromise the flavour. However, is 0.5% ABV enough to ensure that there’s not a massive difference? Of the ones we’ve tried so far, we’ve found that it depends. Overall, they lack the depth and roundness of a traditional wine, but some actually go down a lot smoother than expected. Tesco’s line-up was our favourite of the 0.5 per centers. I’d be quite happy to sip on any of them on a night when I was looking to exercise some restraint in my drinking habits and, although Aldi’s Featherweight White Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio wines are slightly higher at 5.5%, they were the best overall taste-wise.

We’re yet to try January’s new arrivals, but as soon we do, we’ll make sure to update you with our findings…

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