If you enjoy a glass of wine but also have health and wellness goals, try switching to low-alcohol wine!
High-alcohol beverages can seem really cool when you’re younger. However, as you become more nuanced in the art of alcohol you may discover the party doesn’t necessarily stop just because you’re drinking low-alcohol beverages. In fact, you’ll probably notice a variety of benefits. So, this week we want to talk about why YOU should be drinking low-alcohol wine.
Low-alcohol wine can help you find that perfect balance. That way you’re still on track with health and fitness goals, but you still get to enjoy a glass or two with friends on Friday night.
And if you’re thinking that low-alcohol wine just won’t be the same…you’re both right and wrong. Keep reading to find out why!
First, how much alcohol does wine have on average?
That’s actually VERY hard to say. The ABV (alcohol by volume) of wine can be anywhere from five to twenty percent. Plus, certain types of wine will naturally have more alcohol than others. It also depends on how the grapes were grown, when they were harvested, and fermentation methods.
To turn grapes into wine, vintners need to leave grapes on the vine until enough sugar accumulates. During the fermentation process, sugars then turn into alcohol. That’s putting it VERY simple, but you get the picture.
Over the last several years though, more and more vintners are creating wines with higher alcohol levels. This is happening for a number of different reasons, some of which include spiking heat indexes, more resilient yeasts, and different farming practices.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, except that sometimes the wine label doesn’t always tell the whole story. In an article detailing the rising ABV wine trend, SevenFiftyDaily even said, “Every year, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) pulls a sample of alcoholic beverages and tests them. In 2016, it selected 118 wines and found that two in the 7-to-14-percent ABV category were actually 1.7 percent underproof. Another eight wines were mislabeled and in the wrong tax class—presumably, these wines were listed as being between 7 and 14 percent alcohol but were actually higher. So, of the TTB’s sample wines, roughly 8.5 percent had a proof different from their labeling” (Rising Alcohol Levels: How Winemakers are Adjusting).
For those who carefully monitor their alcohol consumption, this makes it harder to keep track. That’s why finding a brand that’s transparent about what’s in their wine is so important.
But if you’re still on the fence about switching to low-alcohol wine, here are a few more items you should consider.
It’s still full of flavor (sometimes MORE)
Wine is meant to be enjoyed. Plus, wine lovers are pretty passionate about the overall wine experience. So, if you’re switching from high-alcohol to low-alcohol wine you don’t want to skimp on flavor. Well, no worries on that front!
To get a higher ABV, vintners need more sugar so they’ll leave the grapes on the vine as long as possible. The more sugar there is, however, the less acid there is. Since acid is needed to balance out the alcohol, this can be tricky. Not to mention leaving grapes on the vine that long can mean overripe tannins. When not done very carefully, this can lead to unbalanced wine.
You’ll notice this if, after tasting a wine, you experience heat at the back of your palate or notice a spirit-like scent. When this happens, many of the other beautiful wine qualities are overpowered by the alcohol.
Low-alcohol white wine is crisp and delicate. Plus, without overpowering alcohol levels, you’ll be able to experience it’s lighter fruity, citrus, or floral flavors. A low-alcohol red wine, on the other hand, won’t have the intense heat of it’s higher ABV counterparts, but you’ll still pick up on its complex flavors.
Low-alcohol wine still has LOTS of beneficial compounds
Just because the alcohol content is lower doesn’t mean you’re missing out on antioxidants and phenolic compounds. Polyphenols (like resveratrol, quercetin, anthocyanins, catechins, and more) are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
These compounds aren’t necessarily dependent on alcohol content. Often the prevalence of polyphenols depends on the region of the vineyard, when the grapes are picked, and how the wine is made. Two of the same grape varieties grown in different regions may have completely different polyphenol levels.
Suffice to say you’ll still be getting those goodies even if your wine has less alcohol.
TIP–It’s important to remember that regardless of alcohol levels, red wine naturally has more polyphenols than white wine.
Low-alcohol wine is great for those who struggle with moderation
We’ve all been there. The drink in your hand is oh SO delicious, and before you know it you’ve had…a few. But it’s important to remember that consuming too much alcohol definitely isn’t good for you.
This is particularly confusing because moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke. So, what’s the deal?!?!
Alcohol consumption is only beneficial up to a point. In 2015, the Journal of Internal Medicine conducted an analysis of literature on the topic and found that moderate drinking IS associated with those benefits. However, heavy drinking (3 or more standard-sized drinks in one day) increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart rhythm abnormalities, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
When you look at the data describing the benefits of wine, it’s almost always in a U-shaped curve. That means the benefits of drinking wine only increase up to a certain point. After that point, it starts to be damaging. That point is usually somewhere around 24g of alcohol in a day. To give you a better reference, that would be two 12 oz beers, two 1.5 oz distilled liquor shots, or two 5oz glasses of wine.
If you’re drinking alcohol with a higher ABV, you’ll quickly hit that limit. However, drinking low-alcohol wine means you can have an extra glass without pushing your alcohol consumption into dangerous territory.
Low-alcohol wine means less sugar content
This one is for all our lovely fitness and nutrition-focused folks out there.
Regardless of whether you’re following a Keto, Paleo, or just trying to make healthier choices in general, sugar tends to make it harder for us to reach our goals. With many vintners including additional sugars in their wine, that glass of pinot ends up being surprisingly sugar dense.
So does that mean wine is totally out? Absolutely not! It just means that low-alcohol wines are a WAY safer option.
While wine needs sugar to produce alcohol, low-alcohol wines tend to have far less sugar because they’re completely fermented. Essentially, the yeast will consume all available sugar.
This means you can enjoy that glass of wine at dinner without the side of guilt!
Conclusion: Low-Alcohol Wine Helps Support a Balanced Lifestyle
Low-alcohol wine is the perfect option for those who love wine but want to cut back on their alcohol consumption. But it’s also great for anyone just starting their wine journey! Being able to sample wines without alcohol overpowering everything makes it easier to notice the many subtle layers.
We wanted to create wine that lets you celebrate special moments without taking anything away. That’s why we think low-alcohol wine is just as important as low-carb wine. Our PALO61 bottles have less than three grams of carbs and residual sugar per bottle and all of our wines are below 13.1% ABV.
If you join SECCO Wine Club you’re choosing to have it all–but in moderation. You’ll still be able to have a glass or two with friends and family, but you won’t regret it the next day. Choose to live guilt-free so you can start living life to the fullest.
If you’re interested in trying one of our low-carb wines, head on over to our shop to find your new favorite bottle. And don’t forget to tag us in your SECCO Wine Club posts on Instagram for a chance to be featured in one of our stories!
hi I want to get my wife to drink white wines with a lower ABV chardanie and blanc types what can you suggest
Great question! If you’re looking for something with a REALLY low ABV, our Alibea is particularly good. If she’s looking for white wine, our Chardonnay or PALO61, Toscana Bianco would also fit the bill (the latter has the lowest ABV of all our white wines). Hope this helps!