Skip to main content

QUESTION: I particularly enjoy wine. However, for medical reasons I have been advised to cut back. I would appreciate if you could recommend a reasonable wine, $15 more or less, dry red or white, where the alcohol content is lower than 10 per cent.

ANSWER: May I offer a few tips on how to fish before I hand you a fish, so to speak?

Winemakers in recent decades have placed a greater emphasis on harvesting fully ripened grapes. This has been a laudable trend because riper grapes produce richer, fruitier and more complex wines - in the same way that local, fresh produce results in a more flavourful dish. But ripe grapes have come with a drawback, brain-numbing (and, in your case, health-compromising) higher alcohol. The biochemistry is basic. Yeast in the fermenting vat feeds off fruit sugar to produce, among other things, alcohol. More food in the vat means higher-octane chardonnays and shirazes. Wines from generally sunny, grape-ripening places such as California and most regions of Chile and South Australia now commonly exceed 14 per cent. Today, unless you're willing to switch from wine to beer, you have few options below the 10-per-cent mark. As a general rule, look to cooler climates, because less sunshine means less alcohol. The source of most of the world's best under-10-per-cent wines is Germany, which lies at the northernmost latitude for quality wine grapes. There's a widely available German riesling, a white, called Dr. L from Loosen Bros., which contains 9.5-per-cent alcohol. It sells for $13.95 in Ontario. But there's a trade-off with this and most other low-alcohol wines: noticeable sugar. In most cases, the alcohol level is kept low by intentionally cutting fermentation short, ending the yeast's meal before it can convert all the sugar into alcohol. That's the case, too, with a decent new offering from Niagara called Southbrook Connect Organic White, a pleasantly fruity, vidal-based wine selling for $14.95 in Ontario. Another good, and generally medium-sweet, category is moscato d'Asti from Italy, a delicious and slightly effervescent white, which typically carries 5- to 6-per-cent alcohol.

Story continues below advertisement

Have a wine question?

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail web site.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter