Ogden Nash once wrote a poem on Icebreaking. It went: “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Wine typically has about 13-percent alcohol by volume. The new trend is to offer low alcohol wine that will have about 5.5-percent alcohol by volume. It brings the calorie count down by about half for a typical glass of table wine.
Wine bars are popping up nearly everywhere in cities around the world. They are typically used by people meeting for a first time. They appear to attract a younger 18-35 year age bracket who are very conscious about appearance. Some factors driving purchase of low alcohol wine across the majority of the markets are the perception of it being better for health than regular strength wine. In addition, these wines help reduce the intoxicating effects of alcohol. They just have enough to break the ice. Some European countries are considering reducing taxation of these wines.
Unlike malt beverages, low alcohol wines are produced as wines by exceptional vineyards and care is taken to assure no compromises in flavors and properties of the more intoxicating wine of low alcohol wine.
Low alcohol wine has been around since 2007 and is slowly finding its way around the world. In the 3 categories of lower alcohol wine (1%-5.5% ABV, 6%-8.5% ABV and 9%-10.5% ABV) France is consistently the market with the highest proportion of potential buyers. France has led with wine bars for generations.
There are debates about flavor and richness from typical wines to low alcohol wine brands but fans find the low alcohol wine easier to drink, especially on meeting and greeting. Asti, Sangria, and a few others were always lower alcohol wines but they tended to be sweeter and are used often as party wines.
With rising driving under intoxication offenses and stricter DUI rules, low alcohol wine seems very sensible, at least as an alternative, for wine drinkers. The theories as to whether low alcohol wine will be less addictive for alcohol or carbohydrates remain to be tested. Until then, the choice of using standard or low alcohol wine is rapidly becoming more available. Will bars offer them at reduced prices?
Let’s toast to the development of more low alcohol wines for meeting, greeting, or for sipping while using a tablet or watching TV. A low alcohol wine may be perfect.