A deeper discussion erupted recently when massive numbers of wine... non-alcoholic wine appeared in various packs on this and that side of the Atlantic. That's right - non-alcoholic. And what is it supposed to be? And where does this wine come from? In discussions, some people started mocking that the next stage would be grape-free 'wine'....
Such wines have been made since the days of American Prohibition, removing alcohol in various ways, but this, by God, is not wine. And it's not that the definition has changed, because it hasn't! But among the younger generation, such a thing is commonly treated as wine, and that is the strangest thing. We are used to thinking (not me!) that this is some new part of the wine world, and it is not. Of course, such a drink may be pleasant, as a compote, but after all, wine will never be wine, just like I am not a ballerina.
Analogies can be made, because we live in strange times. After all, we have cars without drivers, subways without machinists, chops without meat, books without printed pages, or buses that need no oil, no petrol and not even gas. We also have wine without wine.
And finally - how would a taster judge such a wine, the area from which it comes, the story behind it? Well, how? Will vintages matter here? Recently, Huon Hooke, columnist for "The Sydney Morning Herald", dissected this issue and conducted a multi-day poll on the paper's website on a who's for, who's against basis. The result was humbling: it is true that 75 per cent of readers voted that such a thing is not wine, but what to do with the remaining quarter who think that wine without alcohol is normal 'wine'? And what if this percentage starts to rise in the coming years?
Last year's spirits competition in Germany's Neustadt an der Weinstrasse featured ... non-alcoholic spirits. Some of the judges were horrified, others took it calmly, judging successive samples of interest-free gin and other 'spirits'. Today, bottles of such drinks line the shelves in German chain stores.
It is well known that sometimes changes take place in our environment, after which nothing is the same anymore. But does it have to happen in my lifetime?
– Wojciech Gogoliński
-Translated by Tomasz Krzyżanowski
The author is editor of the magazine 'Czas Wina' (Wine Time). Among other things, he has published the 'Lexicon of Alcohols' and is co-author of the book 'Wine Knowledge'.
TVP WEEKLY. Editorial team and jornalists