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Is Zero the Future of Wine?

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Wimbledon reminds me of the greatest ever squash player, Heather Blundell who did not lose a match from 1962 to 1981. I adored squash which was the Sunday morning activity in the late 1970s, a time incidentally when Farmer Bros imported many great Burgundies. My Sunday luncheon reward was the Meursault Les Tillets. What a wine, irresistible, though it called for more, making the afternoon gardening difficult. The thought arose one Sunday, imagine if you could have the taste of Les Tillets without the feeling of the alcohol.

Yesterday at the Tanunda, Barossa supermarket I noted a zero alcohol McGuigan Chardonnay for $13.50 and decided to investigate.

You likely have your own view of the history of drinks though a large part is understanding the role of alcohol when weighted with the pleasure of the drink. Or as we now say about wine, its deliciousness.

The post war years have seen a change in how wine is perceived. A simple pleasure to be enjoyed whenever you like has shifted into a statement of fashion as seen in the way wine makers are applauded, to the hushed tones used when selecting wine in celebrity restaurants.

What happens to this fashion image if we pursue the slogan, drink in moderation by promoting low and no alcohol wines?

Still a trend has begun though if the wine tastes good with low or no alcohol, we then we must ask, can wine be replaced by synthetic ‘wine’ which is being trialled and is already confusing experts.

To me these developments make the debate about the alcohol content of wine rather meaningless. What the Barossa does is make richly, flavoured wines which in turn creates higher alcohol. Perhaps some of this alcohol can be removed after making without altering the flavours and how possible this is we will leave to the future.

The McGuigan wine was not a dud, so anything is possible though not my return to the squash court.

And my drinking advice for older customers is to reduce the size of the wine glass back to the boring, basic shape. It’s a nuisance getting up for a refill which is the point.

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