The low alcohol/no alcohol trend in wine seems to be growing. Apparently, the idea of moderate drinking being healthy has had its moment and is waning, although I haven’t seem much persuasive new data that shows it’s wrong.
At any rate, alcohol is essential to the aroma, flavor, and texture of wine. You can’t make good wine without it, so this trend will not do much for wine quality and people who pursue it are missing out.
There is a better alternative. Buy better wine, drink it more slowly, pay more attention to what you’re drinking, and savor each glass. You don’t have to swill it like Budweiser on a hot day or suck it down compulsively and distractedly when the conversation pauses. Take a page from the mindfulness movement and apply it to wine. Each sip is something to be enjoyed as the focus of your attention. You paid a lot of money for it. If you’re not paying attention, it’s money wasted.
A good glass of wine can last an hour if you give it the attention it deserves, and it will become more interesting over time as it sits in the glass. You can actually enjoy wine more by consuming less.
This kind of restraint is hard at first. We are not accustomed to putting on the brakes while the party goes on around us. But you can learn to engage with the people around you while reserving a corner of your attention for that liquid poetry in your glass. It’s really just a matter of being a bit more reflective and adjusting your focus—a minor change in attention.
The key is by consuming less wine you can consume better wine—I can’t think of a better motivation.