Alcohol-free “wine”, a taste that is sought after for a sector in the making

“Lighter”, “fresher”, “more responsible”, even “less harmful”. Non-alcoholic wine-based drinks – be careful, we cannot say or write “alcohol-free wine”, because a wine must contain at least 8.5% -, and less alcoholic wines – that we can say – are not lacking in attractions. From there to prefer them to the classic bottles? They still have to be good.

Today, it is difficult to quantify what the sector of zero degree or low alcohol “wines” represents. Statistics from the wine world do not distinguish this category. But, assures Mathilde Boulachin, at the head of Domaines Pierre Chavin, in Béziers (Hérault), precursors of these drinks – ten years of history in this sector – the progression is real.

« Their share in our turnover increased from 20% in 2019 to 30% the following year », advances the co-founder of the brand, which produces 1.5 million bottles each year, out of a total of 5 million, and exports 80% of these drinks with little or no alcohol. Several ranges are available, often in three colors and in bubbles: Ôpia (organic, 0 degrees), sold exclusively at Monoprix, Pierre Zéro or even Le Petit Chavin.

“The wines are stronger and stronger, and aperitifs take up more and more space. However, the desire to drink less alcohol is increasing, ”explains Sébastien Thomas, co-founder of the Moderato brand.

The Nicolas brand, with nearly 500 wine merchants in France, is gradually converting, even if, explains its marketing director, Christopher Hermelin, « the sale remains anecdotal », while evoking « a growing market ». « There is a combination of circumstances with the Covid-19, a need for well-being, for authenticity. » And low-alcohol wines seem to fall into that category.

Nicolas launched, at the end of 2020, a “free” range which plays on these convergences: sulphite-free, pesticide-free, alcohol-free. Some 340 products (out of 3,600 references in total), all types of drinks combined, of which alcohol-free products are only a few units. Not enough to discourage explorers of this new planet, such as Sébastien Thomas, co-founder of the Moderato brand, launched on 1is September 2020.

« The wines are stronger and stronger, and the aperitifs take up more and more space. However, the desire to drink less alcohol is increasing, lifestyles are evolving with greater attention to what we consume », explains this 40-year-old from a family of winegrowers in the Cognac region (Charente).

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