I've spent countless hours scouring the net; hundreds, if not thousands, of Google searches; and digging around on site after site, trying find out what types of wine alternatives are out there.
You see, my wife and I have been watching a lot Food Network and the like, and I couldn't help but notice how pretty much every meal was served with a glass of wine. I started to wonder what I've been missing, so I started to look around online for information about drinks that might have a similar taste. The information I found was both meager and disappointing. I primarily found negative reviews of non-alchoholic wines.
Not to be deterred, I continued to search for some sort of source for information, reviews, history, and, well, just about anything I could my hands on, about non-alcoholic wines. The problem was all I could find were random mentions, with few details, of non-alcoholic wines from places that normally dealt only with traditional wine. What I needed was a single place with reviews, information, news and advice on the matter! Well, it appears if you want something done well, sometimes you just have to do it yourself...
So why would someone want to do this? Why would anyone care? Well, the answer comes in a few parts. Firstly, and frankly the easy part, is why anyone would be interested at all. When you sit down to a great meal, one which you have planned every step of the way, it's only natural to include what to drink along with the meal in your consideration. Constantly seeing and hearing about wine pairings has got me thinking there is a lot more I could be experiencing, gastronomically speaking, by giving a little more thought to pairing drinks with certain meals, beyond water, milk, or Minute Maid.
But the real question is why not just go buy some wine and start there. Well, there are a lot of reasons to consider going the non-alcoholic route. Firstly, there are medical and health reasons to consider. It could be damaging to drink alcohol to people with specific diseases or health problems. There may be emotional or psychological reasons for it. Women who are expecting should also avoid drinking alcohol. Various religions have many views on alcohol (or any substance that might impair judgement.) There are also simple practical matters such as being a designated driver. It may simply be a personal decision. The point is, there are many reasons someone might consider refraining from alcohol, whether for a single event, for a long period of time, or a life time.
So the question becomes this - what to drink if you don't want alcohol, but you want something a little more complex than a super sweet juice or a soda? Is there anything out there as satisfying as a good wine, that won't make you a little tipsy?
Well, let's find out!
Try as many wine alternatives as possible, and put up my thoughts here.
What's a wine alternative? Anything that would could complement a meal - and I take the word complement seriously! I'm looking for more than something that tastes good on it's own. So far I've been considering a few different categories to drink.
Alcohol Removed Wines
Varietal Grape Juices
Pure No Sugar Added Juices (like "Just Black Currant" juice)
Wine Alternatives (specifically blended mixes meant to replace wine, like EGA)
I'm beginning to understand what's so attractive about wine. There are endless variations, and there is something rewarding about truly studying what you are consuming. Since I've recently started taking notes about what I'm drinking, and what goes well with it, I've found it to be intensely enjoyable. Along those lines, beyond reviews, I'll be explaining the methods I am using to learn about all these new possibilities.
Along the way I'll make sure to point out any other resources I find!
Who this blog is for:
One thing I must say right out. I have no prior experience with wine, so I can't help but create this from that point of view. That does not mean, however, that there isn't much to be contributed by those with much more experience (and wine vocabulary!) than me! I hope for this to eventually be a resource where anyone, experienced with wine or not, will be able to find valuable information.
Wine Alternatives 101
First, I must give credit where credit is due. The photography blog Strobist had a huge influence on my vision of how to pull off this site. (I'd like to think of starting things of with "Wine Alternatives 101" more of an homage than blatantly stealing ideas from the site. :)
With that said, what follows will slowly grow into what I hope is a comprehensive course on the subject. It should be obvious now, however, that I'm not billing myself as an expert. Hopefully we can learn together, as we go, and have fun along the way.