We can drink zeroes (if just for one day)

If you’ve been perusing wine aisles recently, you may have noticed growth in low and zero-alcohol wines.

In tandem with zero, low or mid-strength beers, and zero-alcohol spirits, low and zero-alcohol wines are building a bigger share of the market, a trend that is also gathering considerable momentum overseas.

Several factors are driving this demand. Pregnant women and diabetics, who need to exercise caution around alcohol, are one group, while people who are watching their weight appreciate the 70%-80% fewer calories (alcohol itself has calories) than standard wines. Another group of people who are keenly aware of the foods and drinks they consume may wish to reduce their alcohol consumption.

Alongside this are people who continue to enjoy full-strength wines. On other occasions they may wish to consume wine without possible after-effects the following day, or enjoy a night out yet need to drive home, and do not want to add to the drink-driving statistics. Low-alcohol and zero-alcohol wines can diminish the risks of drink-driving (low-alcohol wines and driving must still be approached with necessary caution).

Achieving lower-alcohol strengths comes about in different ways. Viticultural techniques are modified to slow the accumulation of grape sugars (these convert into alcohol during fermentation), while research continues into yeast strains that are less efficient in converting grape sugars into alcohol. Technological methods such as reverse osmosis and spinning cone machines remove some or all of the alcohol from wine.

Some early wines in these categories have been fairly accused of being a bit ‘‘thin’’ and lacking in flavour, so winemakers have been working hard to address this issue.

Giesen is one company who have invested significantly in this category by buying their own spinning cone machine (valued at over $1million) to produce alcohol-removed wine, which they can bottle fresh on demand, with opportunities to utilise this ‘‘removed alcohol’’ in other products. 

Giesen 0% Pinot Gris
Price RRP $15.99
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Attractive aromatics
with pear, fresh
grapes, a touch of
apricot and nutty
savoury notes. Cool
crispness, a little
spritz at first, rounded
out by notes of boiled
sweets and apple/
grape juice. Good
texture, fruit sweet
yet relatively dry with
the palate building in
weight and length as
it opens with pear
coming to the fore.
Not wildly complex,
but clean, fresh and
very drinkable.

Giesen 0% Sauvignon Blanc
Price $15.99
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Typically bright SB
nose of cut grass and
gooseberry, adding a
wisp of tobacco with
tropical fruits in the
Powerful gooseberry
flavours lead, backed
by gold kiwifruit and
tobacco. Bright
acidity lends a tangy,
almost sweet and
sour quality to this
with the flavours
hanging nicely on the
close. Zesty, bright
and a wine with high

Giesen 0% Rose
Price $15.99
Rating Very Good

Subtle nose at first,
apple skin, nectarine,
rose petal, growing
as it aerates. The
palate shows crisp
apple flesh, nectarine
and a little spice.
Plays in the drier end
of the spectrum with
some textural
richness. Good
length of finish here,
with the flavours
hanging in the
mouth. They’ve
crafted a wine with
immediate drinking
appeal, even better
shared with friends.


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