We all know how hard it can be to lay off the booze when we’re doing a fitness challenge or following a diet.
But it seems no one knows this better than winemakers themselves.
When staff at New Zealand winery, Giesen Wines, started a fitness challenge they realised just how hard it would be to avoid their products so they came up with a plan.
They created the world’s first zero-alcohol Marlborough sauvignon blanc.
The Giesen 0 per cent has 16 calories per 125ml glass – 80 per cent less calories than a full strength, 12.5 per cent alcohol wine.
“The idea actually came about following a fitness challenge at the winery – suddenly, we couldn’t drink our favourite wine and figured that something had to be done to make this possible,” senior winemaker Duncan Shouler said.
“Looking into it more, we recognised the growing trend towards non-alcoholic drinks as people become more mindful of their drinking and look to reduce their alcohol intake for a variety of reasons.
“A zero-alcohol alternative is an ideal option for designated drivers, mums-to-be, busy parents, serial business lunchers, and those of us attempting a healthy fitness challenge who still want to enjoy a delicious Marlborough sauvignon blanc.”
They are among more and more winemakers turning to low alcohol or zero alternatives.
Amanda Thomson, the founder of UK wine company Thomson & Scott, told Delicious she believed Australia was ripe for conversion to non-alcoholic wine.
“There’s a wonderfully strong fitness focus in Australia which accompanies the very social drinking culture,” she said.
“This means the low-sugar, healthy angle translates naturally for you.
“For me, low (alcohol) offerings just aren’t helpful or actually demanded by consumers. It’s the no-alcohol category that’s really hot when it comes to growth.”
DrinkWise chief executive Simon Strahan said it was reassuring to see Australians were making better choices when it came to their alcohol consumption.
Their survey last year found people drinking more low-alcohol drinks was up to 6.1 per cent, from 5.2 per cent in 2016.
Demand for no-alcohol wine is forecast to grow annually at 18 per cent to 2023.
Mr Shouler said full-strength alcohol consumption in Australia had also been declining over the past 10 years, with health being one of the driving factors.
He said their new product uses the same Marlborough-grown sauvignon blanc grapes and winemaking process as Giesen’s full-strength variety.
The alcohol is then gently removed using advanced spinning cone technology which retains the flavours and aromas.
Mr Shoulder said removing the alcohol created a unique, lighter taste profile while maintaining the citrus, blackcurrant and passionfruit flavour notes synonymous with Marlborough sauvignon blanc.
NZ wine critic Bob Campbell blind taste-tested the new wine against two other no-alcohol sauvignon blanc wines.
“This is a giant leap forward for 0 per cent alcohol sauvignon blanc,” he said.
“The new Giesen 0 per cent tasted like a Marlborough sauvignon blanc with pronounced passionfruit and red capsicum flavours.
“It’s slightly sweet but dry with a pleasing sweet/sour tension. This was my favourite out of the three. I’d very happily drink it.”
HOW MANY KJS ARE IN ALCOHOLIC DRINKS?
150ml glass red wine (13% alc. vol.) = 489kJ
150ml glass white wine (11.5% alc. vol.) = 440kJ
150ml glass champagne (12% alc. vol.) = 444kJ
30ml gin & 170ml diet tonic = 284kJ
355ml bottle cider (5% alc. vol.) = 744kJ
375ml bottle full-strength beer (4.8% alc. vol.) = 564kJ