Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Alcohol free wine sales rise by 66%

Some may say that subtle aromas are exactly what's to be expected in a wine that has had its alcohol removed, but the quality of two such wines is so convincing that they have won awards at one of the world's biggest wine competitions.

The judges at the 2023 International Wine and Spirit Competition’s (IWSC) awarded the Giesen 0% Alcohol Pinot Gris the Best Low-Alcohol Trophy (<1.2% alcohol/volume), praising its "subtle buttered stone fruit" aromas. 

“The palate is full with bold notes of white peach, citrus, green apple and a streak of salinity. The acidity appears on the mid-palate, and it has a pleasing length. Very drinkable," was the official judge's comment on the Pinot Gris, which was made as a traditional wine prior to having its alcohol removed.

This process is considered to produce the most convincing examples of wines without alcohol, says Giesen chief winemaker Duncan Shouler, adding that sales of alcohol removed wines in New Zealand have grown by 71.5% in value and 66% in volume over the past 12 months, compared to the previous year. 

 The IWSC is one of the world's most respected wine competitions and has now been running for 50 years. Entries of low to no alcohol wines rose at this year's competition by 225% compared with the previous year.