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Low alcohol wines that raise the bar higher

Many of us have done dry July; or even OcSober. Monitoring our alcohol consumption and turning down a drink at the local after work and at parties is slowly raising less eyebrows.  Even in Australia. 2020 was going to be the Year of the Sober-Curious Movement and then along came Corona Virus.

Suddenly it was Zoom Quarantini catch-ups. Research shows social distancing initially led to an upturn in drinking. Taking the edge off to quell the panic became the new normal. As we slowly return to what it was like before COVID-19, might it be the right time to question the how, when and why we drink?

Before the pandemic, many new brands of low and no alcohol drinks entered the market.  Distillers are now producing zero-proof spirits along side regular vodkas and gins. Winemakers are also producing flavoursome wines that meet wine lover’s expectations.

Low alcohol wines

In 2017, Wine Intelligence Vinitrac, discovered over 1.8 million Australian premium wine drinkers were likely to purchase lower-alcohol wines. In addition, one third of these people either moderate or abstain from alcohol consumption on specific occasions.

low alcohol wine In Session This Magnificent Life

Crafters Union released a range of lower-alcohol wines earlier this year. The three In Session varietals are full  flavoured with around 25% less alcohol than most standard wines. The varietals include Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé grown in New Zealand’s Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay region.

According to Crafters Union Winemaker David Edmonds, New Zealand is the world’s top producer of naturally lower-in-alcohol wines. 

Photograph by Babiche Martens.

“A common perception is that all lower alcohol wines are poor quality and have less flavour, which is simply not true. The Crafters Union winemaking team take pride in producing lighter, full-flavoured wines that celebrate the renowned New Zealand Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay regions. Sustainable viticulture and winemaking practices allow us to naturally reduce the amount of sugar, while still capturing the same varietal characteristics and vibrant flavours that our full-strength Crafters Union wines are known for,” he said.

low alcohol wine In Session This Magnificent LifeDavid answered a few more questions about lower-alcohol wine and the In Session range.

What motivated you to release lower-alcohol wines?

Lower and non-alcoholic beverages are becoming increasingly popular across the globe. Observing the steady growth of the health and wellness trend, we started looking at how we could tap into this potential market in 2018. While the figures will vary from country to country, research shows one third of consumers (US) want to see more non-alcohol options. In Australia, 83% are either neutral or positive towards low alcohol wine.

Source – Mintel Alcoholic Beverage Drinking Occasions (US) – September 2019.

Source – Wine Intelligence Vinitrac Report – October 2017.

Was it something that people were demanding?

Research shows Gen Z, Millenials and Baby Boomers have been embracing the trend of low and non-alcoholic beverage options. In Australia, between 2014 and 2017, the percentage of Australian premium wine consumers likely to purchase lower alcohol wine has grown to 50% (+6%).

Source – Wine Intelligence Vinitrac Report – October 2017.

How important is the sugar and calorie content for your drinkers?

Wine drinkers are increasingly becoming more aware and educated around how much sugar and, therefore, how many calories are associated with their beverage – whether it be wine, beer or other alcohol offerings. Access to lower and non-alcoholic options is increasing across multiple categories.

Does lower-alcoholic or lower-sugar wine taste different?

Over the last few years, I have been experimenting with the vines to get flavour development without the cumulation of sugar, and without compromising on taste or quality. The result of the In Session wine produced is fresh and crisp, and a great option when moderation is required for the occasion – like an afternoon BBQ or work function. The low alcohol wines we produce are familiar fruit forward styles.

In Session Wines by Crafter’s Union – in the glass

low alcohol wine In Session This Magnificent Life

We particularly enjoyed the In Session 2019 Hawkes Bay Rose. Crisp and fresh, it doesn’t fall into the old trap of overt sweetness. Pale salmon in colour in the French style it’s pretty in the glass. It’s a fine rose that works well with a cheese plate.

The Pinot Gris starts out all stone fruit and finishes with crisp citrus notes.  Again wonderful paired with food or a great aperitif for all occasions. Super refreshing.

Both these wines didn’t compromise on taste.

Crafters Union In Session wines are available in BWS and Dan Murphy’s stores nationally.

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Liz Bond

Liz Bond comes from a PR background and loves fine wine, great food and rewarding travel - all the magnificent things in life. She prides herself in meeting famous celebrities at baggage carousels.

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