Low alcohol wines used to be frowned upon by most wine drinkers, especially wine snobs, but is low alcohol wine a trendy alternative now? The answer has to be yes for several reasons. The sudden increase in interest in wines with a lower alcohol content (ABV) may have been caused by global warming, as well as a few other factors.
i hear you say why Well, in the last 15 years some wines have gained between 2% and 3% vol. which means that a red wine with 13% vol. is now around 15% vol. This is a massive increase due to warmer weather allowing for higher natural sugar levels. When that sugar is completely converted into alcohol to make bone-dry wine, then you’re in for a blockbuster – a glass or two and you’ll be floored!
To counteract the very high sugar production, vineyards produce grapes in high-altitude, cool-climate wine-growing regions such as New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. Manufacturers in Germany also offer popular low-alcohol versions of Rieslings to accommodate light summer white wine drinking styles.
What about the health benefits?
It is well known that drinking wine in moderation, especially red wine, is beneficial to health. These benefits include:
- The ability to lower the level of cholesterol in the body, which reduces the risk of blood clots.
- As a source of antioxidants responsible for cleansing most of the human system.
- Less alcohol consumption means fewer calories consumed – ideal for the weight-conscious.
It should be noted that in order to enjoy these wine benefits, a healthy lifestyle must be maintained.
While these proven health benefits exist, what is often overlooked is that alcohol is not one of them. Alcohol damages the liver and nervous system and burdens the body with unnecessary calories, which can lead to depression. It’s these calories that can be avoided by consuming low-alcohol wines.
Is there a future for low-alcohol wines?
Most people would be happy to drink lower-alcohol wines of certain types, as long as they taste the same as regular wines. The white wines would not be as full and limp as with higher alcohols, but would be crisper and more delicate with attractive, slightly fruity citrus aromas.
Growing grapes in cool climates is a way to produce fruit with less sugar and more acid, resulting in fresh, racy wines – ideal for summer drinking or as an accompaniment to fish, chicken and spicy dishes. A red wine with 11.5% vol. wouldn’t seem as heavy as its 14% or 15% counterpart, but would be just as flavorful and drinkable without that mind-blowing punch!
Be sensible, drink sensibly.
Over the years, the size of the average wine glass has gotten larger to accommodate raving customers – and to sell more wine! Drinking a large glass of a high alcohol wine can be equivalent to drinking maybe three glasses of a low alcohol wine. Not good for your health let alone your wallet.
Maybe low-alcohol wine really is a trendy alternative now, and better for your health too. By reducing the alcohol you would reduce your calorie intake quite drastically, so why not give it a try?
Thanks to Rob Hemphill