Saturday, June 15, 2019

Teatotaling test

There are plenty of good reasons for people to reduce their alcohol intake or avoid alcohol altogether. Among the health reasons are to avoid interactions with medicines, and that’s the situation I’m now in. Turns out, the alcohol-removed wine I found is quite good.
In my most recent Health Journey post, I talked about buying alcohol-removed wine:
“…because the medicine [Amiodarone] can cause liver damage, they urge people to avoid or severely limit alcohol intake. I’m doing the former. There are many good alcohol-removed wines nowadays, and some decent no-alcohol beers and even a sparkling no-alcohol wine—well, technically, it’s a sparkling grape juice, but it’s more wine-like than that sounds. This means that when we’re being social, I can sort of play along, even though I’m not drinking alcohol."
I knew about Edenvale alcohol removed wines, an Australian brand sold in our supermarket. I even tried a red one once and thought it was okay—but a sip is hardly the same thing as drinking a glass of it. Now that I have more incentive, I decided to try it again.

I normally drink Pinot Gris (also known as Pinot Grigio, but there is a difference between the two). Edenvale doesn’t make one, so I chose their chardonnay because I don’t like Sauvignon Blanc anymore, and I generally don’t like Riesling because it’s too sweet for my taste. I used to drink chardonnay all the time up until a few years ago. I also bought a bottle of their Rosé (a bit sweet for my taste), and a bottle of their bubbles, Sparkling Cuvee, which was sweeter than I usually like in bubbles, but pretty good. I haven't tried their ordinary red yet, nor their premium range.

When I opened the chardonnay, I smelled the open bottle, and it smelled a lot like a bottle of chardonnay. Its taste was lighter than ordinary chardonnay, something like a low-alcohol version might taste, but it was surprisingly nice. In fact, now that I’ve had some several different times, I plan on keeping it as one of my choices after I’m off this medicine regime, maybe paired with a low-alcohol wine, or maybe (probably) by itself. That kind of surprised me.

One question that comes up when I talk about this is, are the wines completely alcohol free? No, they’re not. Edenvale explains this in their FAQs:
The average finished alcohol level of the Edenvale range is approximately 0.2-0.3% Alcohol/Volume. It is virtually impossible to remove 100% of the alcohol from a fermented beverage. Delicate alcohol extraction technology is used to ensure varietal definition and flavours are retained in the finished product so consumers can still enjoy a sophisticated beverage without the effect of alcohol.
Edenvale Alcohol Removed wines contain less alcohol than most freshly squeezed orange juices. The International Standard for a non intoxicating beverage is 0.5% Alc/Vol (of which Edenvale is nearly half). Below this level the regulatory body, Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand, do not require producers to include any statement of Alcohol content.
I have to admit that I wasn’t aware that alcohol is naturally occurring in fruit juices, among other things. I also wasn’t aware that the alcohol by volume in drinks we know have alcohol varies a lot. In fact, it was reported on TVNZ’s One News tonight that there are concerns about the variable amounts of alcohol in the fad health drink kambucha. Some of varieties are below 0.5%, meaning it’s legally alcohol-free, but some are high enough that the law requires that it be labelled.

I also tried the sparkling wine of an American alcohol-removed wine brand called fre, but I’m not sure the specific one I tried is still available. It was pretty good, too, but it’s imported from much farther away than Edenvale, and so, usually more expensive than the Australian ones I tried.

So, I rate this experiment a complete success, so much so I’ll keep having it even after I can have regular wine again. From me, that’s actually very high praise.

The products listed and their names are all registered trademarks, and are used here for purposes of description and clarity. No person, company, or entity provided any support or payment for this blog post, and all products were purchased by me at normal retail prices. So, the opinions I expressed are my own genuinely held opinions, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers, any retailer, or any known human being, alive or dead, real or corporate. Just so we’re clear.

Important note: This post mentions my own personal health journey. My experiences are my own, and shouldn’t be taken as indicative for anyone else. Similarly, other people may have completely different reactions to the same medications I take—better or worse. I share my experiences because others may have the same or similar experiences, and I want them to know that they’re not alone. But, as always, discuss your situation and how you’re feeling openly, honestly, and clearly with your own doctor, and always feel free to seek a second opinion from another doctor.

The image of the bottle is from the winemaker.


Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Now that you mention that, when I was a kid, some orange juice sat in my parents' fridge too long, and it "smelled funny". Looking back, it may have had a lot more alcohol in it than usual. I was aware that most fruit juices can be made into wine, for example, but I wasn't really aware that they all have naturally occurring alcohol in pretty small amounts. I guess I never needed to know that. But maybe people who like cocktails made with fruit juice need to be careful?

rogerogreen said...

I knew juice turned to alcohol from hard apple cider, but also when the orange juice in the fridge would turn; not something I'd drink. If grapefruit juice does it, I hadn't noticed because it's already so acidic.