Time to rethink drink
With the party season upon us, many people are looking for alternatives to alcohol. They may be driving, pregnant, or on medication where it is contra-indicated; they may simply not enjoy alcohol or its after-effects, or have been addicted to it like millions (including me). There is a growing market for wine where the alcohol has been extracted from the fermented wine at the final stage, and there are two types available:
• Alcohol-free, which under UK law may contain up to 0.05 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV).
• De-alcoholised, which legally may contain from 0.05 per cent to 0.5 per cent ABV.
Although there is often a trace of alcohol remaining, the liver processes it so quickly that, by one estimate, you would have to drink about 35 glasses of de-alcoholised wine (up to 0.5 per cent) in 15 minutes to register one unit (10 ml) of pure alcohol in the body.
Non-alcoholic wine, made from unfermented grape juice, contains no alcohol at all.
For many, these wines provide an anxiety-free way of joining in at a social occasion (see right for our choices). However, people who are on medication such as antabuse for alcohol dependence are warned that they may cause a reaction if consumed in quantity.
LESS ALCOHOL, MORE FLAVOUR...?
YOU testers spent a merry afternoon trialling wines from The Alcohol Free Shop, which has a wide range of wines, beers and other drinks (www.alcoholfree.co.uk/0800 224 8024). Connoisseurs might turn their noses up at these drinks, but we left happy and hangover-free – and the bonus is that they are lower calorie than higher alcohol versions.
Weinkönig Romance en Blanc Organic White, £7.39 (0.09 per cent ABV). This fruity, fairly dry blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon grapes from Bordeaux, which should be well chilled, smelt like ‘real’ wine, or – to one tester – ‘wet hay’. Try it with poultry and puds.
Weinkönig Riesling, £6.89 (0.3 per cent ABV). Not to be confused with sweet wines, this dry, sharp white is from the riesling, Germany’s best-known grape variety. Good with seafood.
Eminasin Doce Meses, £9.99 (0.5 per cent ABV). A sweet, blackcurrant-like red from tempranillo grapes, aged in oak barrels for 12 months, this was voted ‘very acceptable’. Serve it with red meat and cheese.
Weinkönig Romance en Rosé Organic, £7.39 (0.28 per cent ABV). A medley of sauvignon blanc, sémillon, merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes creates a fresh rosé for drinking on its own or with light dishes.
The free, confidential 24-hour helpline urgently needs volunteers to meet increasing demand for phone and online support. If you can commit to four hours a week, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/childlinevolunteer.
As someone who is a huge fan of being read to, I can’t think of anything more wonderful than Given For Christmas, a CD of poetry and prose readings recorded live at St Paul’s and Westminster Cathedrals by actors including Dame Judi Dench and Damian Lewis. All proceeds go to Cancer Research UK. £9.99, from www.giftshop.cancerresearchuk.org.
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: www.singingforsnorers.com
With Christmas carols in mind, it seems a good time to mention this website, which offers singing exercises for snorers based on research conducted with 93 patients at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital who snored or had sleep apnoea. The three-month programme reduced the severity, frequency and loudness of snoring, and improved moderate sleep apnoea.