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Blind-Tasted Competition Surveys the Low & No Alcohol Wine Market, with Australia and France as the Big Winners

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London, Tuesday 9 January 2024 –A recent blind-tasting competition in London evaluated low and no alcohol wines from all over the world, highlighting the trends and incredible growth of this sector in the market. From the 14 nations represented, Australia and France came home with the bulk of top medals – 70% of the total Gold medals between them.

The Global Low & No Alcohol Wine Masters 2023 was the final competition of the year in the Global Wine Masters series, run by industry-leading publication the drinks business. Three panels of independent, expert judges – including five Masters of Wine and an alcohol-free expert – were tasked with evaluating a range of wines qualifying in the low alcohol (0.5% to 11% abv) and no alcohol (under 0.5%) categories. They awarded medals based solely on quality to drink, with Bronze, Silver and Gold medals available, as well as Master medals for the very best.

The fifteen Gold medallists came from seven different countries and a vast majority retails under £15, despite the often costly techniques enabling to remove alcohol from the wine. They covered a wide range of style among both the low and the no alcohol categories, including sparkling white and rosé, unoaked white, unoaked red, premixed and sake, highlighting the diversity of this ever-growing sector.

Looking back to the tasting, Chair of Judges Patrick Schmitt MW pointed out that, if plenty of techniques can be used, “a common approach is replacing the alcohol with some form of sweetness – and, as a result, many of the top-scoring samples had at least some residual sugar in them. Bubbles help too, with the fizz bringing a creamy texture to the mid-palate, and – if there is sweetness in the wine – a refreshing and cleansing feel to the finish”.

Australia demonstrated its expertise by securing five Gold medals, for wines that all retail under £10. Particular credit goes to Australian Vintage, who won two Gold medals for their Not Guilty Rosé Prosecco and their Tempus Two Zero Pinot Grigio.

France and its long-standing tradition of winemaking proved that they are willing to get off the beaten track by creating highly qualitative products in the alcohol-free wine sector. The country received five Gold medals, including two for Cordier’s ‘Low Matter What’ Rosé and White, reaching 6% abv, and one for Oddbird’s Sparkling Rosé in the no alcohol category.

Patrick Schmitt noted that the most impressive wines were “those with very low levels and zero alcohol, because such samples were closest in style to a standard wine”, thus proving that with effort and technique, the alcohol-free wine sector is able to produce successful alternatives to traditional wines, without sacrificing body and texture.

Gold medal winners are listed overleaf.

Gold medal winners:

About The Global Wine Masters Competitions

The Global Wine Masters have rewarded excellence in winemaking since 2013, helping quality brands to stand out and consumers to drink with confidence. Through its unique structure – defining categories by grape variety or style rather than region – the competition series lets the finest wines in the world compete against each other. Every competition is judged by the very best palates in the world: Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers.

The Global Wine Masters award wines with Bronze, Silver and Gold medals, and Master medals for the very best entries:

  • Bronze (85-88): A well-made wine that qualifies for our seal of approval. This wine is enjoyable and meets customer expectations.
  • Silver (89-92): A high-quality wine that clearly demonstrates good winemaking while serving as a strong example of its style, source or dominant grape.
  • Gold (93-96): A brilliant wine that is a benchmark for its type. This wine has lasting appeal and shows great balance, complexity and intensity.
  • Master (97-100): An outstanding example of its type, showing impeccable winemaking. This wine delights for its wonderful texture, perfect balance and broad range of delicious, persistent flavours.

The results of each competition are published in the drinks business magazine and website (circulation of 13,000 print copies and 1.9 million webpage visits per month). This large reach guarantees that entrants’ medal wins are visible to a truly international and industry-focused audience. 

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