This is my Dichotomy – I want to be healthier but I love food and wine. This has always been the case and to be honest, I’m ok with it. Although I am happy to eat healthily and make small tweaks to my diet or eating habits, I will never be able to fully change the fact that I enjoy indulging in good food and good wine. So instead I’ve decided to research the subject enough until I can justify my own actions and convince myself I don’t need to reach for the kale smoothie. Being healthy doesn’t mean no wine, it means drinking smarter and after all, that is exactly what we are all about at The Wine Ed Co.
Alcohol in wine
Let us be clear, no matter what the alcohol content of the wine is, over-drinking is over-drinking. However, if you’re being sensible, a glass or two of low alcohol wine can be a lovely treat which is relatively good for you. The alcohol content of a wine is dependent on the amount of sugar in the grapes at harvest time. With that in mind there are two main factor to consider, the climate and the grape variety.
As a general rule, cooler climates will tend to produce low alcohol wine, meaning that places like England, Northern France, Austria, Germany and Southern New Zealand all have the potential to produce low alcohol wines. With regards to grape varieties, the varieties which tend to grow well in these climates normally produce low alcohol wines. Riesling is capable of producing brilliant low alcohol wines and many of them are now produced in a dry style. The English variety Bacchus is also known for producing good quality low alcohol wines.
Low alcohol red wines are harder to find, however, pinot noir tend to be a good variety to keep an eye out for. In particular, New Zealand and Romania are good sources of cool climate Pinot noir at a reasonable price.
Organic wines are wines which are produced without the use of artificial or synthetic chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides. While choosing to drink organic wine is definitely a healthier choice for the environment, It is not necessarily a healthier choice for you. The main difference to the individual is the absence of Sulphur Dioxide, which is a sterilising agent. Sulphur Dioxide is also the main contributor (apart from over-drinking) to a terrible wine headache. Therefore, if you spend a lot of mornings in December wearing sunglasses indoors and hiding from the world, a move to organic wine might be a good call. Chile is a fantastic source of organic wine at reasonable prices, and with the demand for organic wines increasing, this is something we are sure to see more of in 2017.
In “How to be a healthy Wine lover – part 2” we will look at the French paradox and Sardinia’s Blue zone, proof that cultures ingrained with wine consumption can be healthy.