Pausing for thought on alcohol-free & sulphite-free wines

We don’t sell non-alcoholic wines. Maybe we haven’t given them a fair chance, but I suspect their a bit of a different animal to what we’re currently dealing with. I think I would prefer to drink an alternative fruit drink that’s naturally alcohol free if I’m appointed driver for the evening, for example. Perhaps a Britvic or an Appletiser – I can’t deny I love the sweet hit. Hand me a drip and I’ll plug myself in.

Stripping wine of its alcohol, or lowering the alcohol, can be quite an evasive procedure. I’ve mentioned that before and shown a few ways that it can be done. I believe most well made wine, particularly when you’re moving above bargain basement, is pretty pure stuff. As far as alcoholic beverages go it is about as natural as it gets, and when intervention is minimalist it’s one of the few things that can represent its origins as well as it does. Coffee is supposedly up there too.

Then they add the sulphites. But wait, isn’t sulphur dioxide a natural byproduct of the fermentation process? Well, yes it is. And it is the blame for many a hangover, or allergic reaction. I’m not enirely convinced sulphites are as big a culprit as made out, but that’s neither here nor there. Do sulphite-free wines stack up? According to a trusted source of ours many of them do. The problem is that there are many more bad or off bottles with sulphite-free wines than with those that have not had their sulphites extracted.

Sulphites, although only required in very small amounts, whether it’s all added or naturally occurring, help preserve the wine, keeping all its components in check. Without it the wine can become unstable and go into quick decline, sometimes before it even reaches the retailers shelves. It’s something that is particularly important in cheap wines as they don’t have the structure for longevity. As for keeping sulphite-free to the next day, I’d imagine it would be a challenge, although I’ve never tried it myself.

Both wines serve a purpose and a market. That’s why they’re there. Whether the quality on a whole can stand shoulder to shoulder with the real thing, that’s something I’m not convinced of yet, but I’ve an ever open mind, especially when it comes to food and drink. Now, where’d that kangaroo jerky go…

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