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  Editorial Issue 68, November 2008   
Alcohol-Free Wines?Alcohol-Free Wines?  Contents 
Issue 67, October 2008 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 69, December 2008

Alcohol-Free Wines?


 In the past few weeks in Italy there have been rumors about the possibility of producing alcohol-free wine or dealcoholized wine, that is a wine to which has been removed part of its alcohol. This hypothesis, supported by France and Spain in the European Union Institutions, has been cause in Italy of a long and probably useless number of debates as to be seen as a new menace for wine. Many support this initiative and say it would be useful to limit the bad and preoccupying effects of alcohol and of its dependence, in particular the tragic consequences of the actions of those deplorable subjects having the habit of drinking too much before driving a vehicle. There is no doubt every initiative taken in favor of the prevention of such grave and risky actions for the health and safety of people must be supported and spread. We are however convinced the most effective solution is a better culture and education, something which is frequently forgotten by Institutions - maybe because they are incapable or lazy - and they just believe forbidding is the best thing to do, hopefully relying in a miracle.


 

 Moreover, some support the production of alcohol-free wine as a sign of freedom of choice, a new chance offered to consumers which could also bring to the creation of a new market. No objection about this. In case there are consumers who prefer the consumption of alcohol-free wine, why should this possibility be denied to them? It is not just a matter of being moralists, it is likely a wine like this would be appreciated to those who, for reasons of personal ethics or health, cannot drink alcoholic beverages. In this sense, there is nothing negative in the possibility of offering choices: it is a sign of civility and freedom. Moreover, it is a new chance for producers who could increase their profits. In case one prefers drinking an alcohol-free wine, he or she should have the freedom to do that, likewise the same freedom must be granted to consumers who prefer drinking and choosing a wine made in a traditional way, that is, with alcohol.

 By considering that, we don't understand what is the problem. Many believe this initiative could represent a new attack against Italian wine, a clear attempt of adulteration by law. Indeed, no one is forbidding Italy - or any other country - to make wine the way it has always been made since thousands years, they are simply thinking about the possibility of creating a new beverage which could meet the favor of some consumers. Moreover, in case it is true adulteration is considered as a very important matter, why don't they support the initiative of making wine completely transparent to the eyes of consumers, by stating in labels the list of all the ingredients and chemical additives used in the process of production? Undoubtedly, wine is the result of a chemical process, even in case it is made with the most strict and scrupulous natural methods. Of course, not all of the chemical phenomena are the same and not all are spontaneous or natural.

 There are many and famous cases of adulterated products and they did no altered or menaced the dignity and the image of the real ones. Let's consider, for example, coffee, tea and beer. Since many years are being produced coffee and tea with no caffeine, as well as alcohol-free beer, nevertheless the marketing of these products has not significantly decreased. In case one wishes to have a decaffeinated coffee, despite this choice would not be agreed by a purist, why should we be scandalized by this choice? Not to mention beer. Despite many alcohol-free beers have been introduced to the market, the consumption of the beverage of Ceres is recently increased, almost reaching the consumption of wine. The taste of decaffeinated coffee is not the same of the regular coffee, as well as the taste of alcohol-free beer is not the same of traditional beer: they are in fact similar products and however different.

 In case there is a problem, we believe it is represented by the concrete risk of confusion. In particular, the confusion which would be arisen in case dealcoholized wine is commercialized with the name of “wine”. Wine must be wine: in case one consciously choose to have wine, this must be and represen everything wine represents since thousands years, including alcohol. Because if it is true it is right to give the freedom of choice to have an alcohol-free wine, likewise must be given the freedom of choice to have a wine with alcohol. This new product must not and cannot be called wine. If they want to create a beverage derived from wine, by using an industrial process capable of removing or reducing the alcohol produced from the fermentation of must, this cannot be called wine. Most of all in case they support the production of this beverage as a solution to limit the effects of alcohol: in order to avoid any confusion, i cannot and must not be called “wine”. Do you want to make an alcohol-free beverage derived from wine? There is no problem in this, but don't call it wine!

 If we consider sensorial and organoleptic aspects, it is commonly known, as well as evident, alcohol plays a fundamental role both in the balance of wine and in the gustatory and tactile perception. An alcohol-free wine would inevitably have a different taste and aroma from real wine, therefore it is a different produc and it must be treated and considered as different. Let's make things clear: we are not trying to support alcohol and its consumption, even less, its abuse. The deplorable consumption of alcoholic beverages - including wine - cannot be approved or supported: we have been always convinced the best appreciation of wine is favored by moderation. And we are also against speculations, in particular in case they are evidently adopted to confound or presume upon consumers. Even worse, in case they are used to make deplorable commercial profits. Make your alcohol-free beverage derived from wine, but let wine to always be and remain wine - with all of its alcohol, tradition and culture - because this is the way we appreciate it and want to appreciate it. With moderation, always.

 




   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 68, November 2008   
Alcohol-Free Wines?Alcohol-Free Wines?  Contents 
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