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A friend of mine has just asked me a question regarding Non Alcoholic wines. Being a teetotaller, she experiences the same problems that every other non drinker has. The main being the overall quality and availability of top quality, alcohol free wines.
She was asking me what are the pros and cons with Non Alcoholic wines?
How does removing the alcohol affect the wine?
Does the removal process alter the aromas and taste of the wines?
Do we, the professionals as well as the consumer, understand enough about alcohol free wines?
Now, to my shame, having spent 16 years in the wine trade, I don’t really know a great deal regarding the topic.
I think that it would be fair to say that, when it comes to alcohol free wines, you could fit what I know on the back of a postage stamp.
Amongst the various stores I’ve managed I don’t get asked about Non Alcohol wines too often. I get more requests for alcohol free beers. Because of this I’ve never taken the time out to read up on the subject or taste any at trade events. I tend to get led by personal interest and what I believe is good for my store and customers.
Am I missing a trick here?
According to the Nielsen report for 2010, £14 million pounds was spent in the UK on low alcohol – alcohol free wines. Now compare that to the £5.2 billion spent on the light wine market in the UK off trade, a bit of a difference.
For a wine or beer to be classified as alcohol free it has to contain no more than 0.05% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and for low alcohol no more than 1.2% ABV. That is the extent of what I know. Postage stamp.
Here’s a bit of a contradictory of terms too. Under UK trading standards, wines under 8% ABV cannot be classed or labelled as wine.
I remember the likes of Eisberg and Concorde. Sitting, collecting dust on the shelves. Bland, watery, synthetic in taste. Not overly inspiring wines, but am I scarred by the poor choices available of years gone by?
How have things changed?
Help me to understand and maybe have a clearer, better opinion of the alcohol free market?
Help me to answer the questions set at the top of the page?
What do you think?
Lots of questions.
Click on the link below for a piece on low alcohol Black Tower