Hold the Booze: New York Post Rates Non-Alcoholic Wines


With non-alcoholic wines, spirits and beers surging to the top of industry headlines, the New York Post decided to rate representatives from each of these categories in an article this past month.
“One of the hottest areas in the drinking world is alcohol-free tipples: Sales of non alcoholic wine in the US jumped 5.6 percent to nearly $100 million from November 2013 to November 2014, according to Nielsen,” the Post's Reed Tucker noted in the article.
The spike in popularity is gaining admirers who, for one reason or another, need to abstain from boozy libations.
“The converted include teetotalers and those with health issues. The weight-conscious are also fans,” Tucker reported. “Alcohol free wine has about one-third the sugar and calories as the regular stuff – yet retains its heart-healthy benefits, according to research … But there's really no point in drinking any of these if they don't go down well.”
The paper compared six different beverages, including two wines: Ariel and V/NO.
The article characterized Ariel as the “granddaddy of alcohol-free wine” because it has been available to wine drinkers since the mid-80's. 
Ariel offers “zero” chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and rogue. The paper tasted Ariel's rogue. 
One staffer who tasted the rogue remarked, “This is really weird. It tastes like juice.” 
Tucker said the Ariel rogue “doesn't have the wine's complex flavor or mouth-feel.”
V/NO fared a bit better than Ariel. According to Tucker, the company buys wine from California vineyards, then removes the ethanol present in the drink.
The wine comes in “plastic mini bottles that come with their own classy plastic flute attached over the lid,” the article said.
Of the red wine, Tucker wrote, “The red is the best of the bunch and definitely has a flavor approaching wine, although it's still a bit thin on the tongue.”
V/NO's higher rankings may be due to the company's production method: “V/NO injects concentrates, including oak and tannins, to give its product a more wine-like flavor and mouth-feel.”
In addition to the two wine brands, Tucker and his colleagues tried the beers – Clausthaler, Einbecker and O'Doul's – and one alcohol-free cocktail brand called “Mocktails”.
Einbecker seemed to garner the best review of the remaining four beverages.
“This one's light with a bitter kick, similar to something like Beck's,” the article said. “You might guess it's near-beer, but it's pretty darn near.”

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