Subscribe

What low or no alcohol drinks to try this holiday season

Now we’re in the thick of it — the holiday season with a parade of friends and family streaming through your door until New Year’s Day. Some of them, no doubt, will be marathon runners, designated drivers or parents who can’t risk a hangover.

Riding the wellness trend in America, low-alcohol and no-alcohol wine and beer have become a growing sector of the market. They offer a range of options for hosts who want to be inclusive of those who want to celebrate and yet remain sober.

“As wine lovers ourselves, we founded Sovi with a passionate, yet rebellious spirit to finally offer consumers a refreshing, non-alcoholic wine without compromising flavor or experience,” said Julia Littauer, co-founder of Sovi and a former San Francisco sommelier. “Sovi is perfect for people who have a heart for wine and a craving for inclusion.”

The new Napa Valley brand makes a sparkling rosé and a red blend, relying on state-of-the-art technology to remove the alcohol from wines. Sovi is sold as a four-pack for $24 on the website drinksovi.com and in some stores. It’s classified as a non-alcoholic beverage in the U.S. because it’s less than 0.5% alcohol by volume.

Another locally produced tasty option is the low-alcohol beer brand Bella Snow.

“The light lager category is the most popular (in volume) in the country, and it’s also the lowest alcohol percentage,” said Sean Boisson, CEO and co-founder, who lives in Sonoma. “This got me thinking. We partnered with UC Davis and an expert with yeast from Stanford to create the first ‘sessionable’ beer for all tolerance levels. (”Sessionable“ refers to beers that are lower in alcohol.) I have no doubt in my mind the low-alcohol category will be a major one.”

Bella Snow, a grapefruit or mandarin Scottish ale, falls into the “soft ale” category because it’s 2.4% alcohol by volume. It has both sugar and gluten removed, so Boisson calls it “a truly guilt-free beer.”

Other brands to explore for those who want to sidestep alcohol:

Alcohol-free:

Fre, produced by Sutter Home, has a range, including cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, rosé and a sparkler, all $15 or less.

Ariel produces a cabernet sauvignon ($7) and a chardonnay ($9).

Starla crafts a red blend, a sauvignon blanc and a sparkling rosé, all $28.

Gruvi beer produces an IPA, pale ale, stout and Sour Weisse, all offered in 12-packs for $30.

Busty Lush crafts She’s Golden Blonde Ale; a six-pack is $11.

Brewdog offers a six-pack of Elvis ($12), Hazy ($8), Nanny State ($12) and Punk ($12).

Low-alcohol:

Brancott Estate, a New Zealand brand, produces a sauvignon blanc and a pinot noir, both $12.

Leitz, a German brand, crafts a sparkling rosé and a sparkling riesling, both for $22.

Bel’s Light Hearted produces an ale; a 12-pack is $19.

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette