Best Low Alcohol Wines for Day Drinking
By Laura Fagan Published May 2022
Day drinking is easygoing and enjoyable, especially when paired with friends on a beach vacation. As you anticipate and prepare for your upcoming daytime events and outings, it’s important to know which wines have a lower alcohol by volume (ABV) so they may be sipped over the course of a day and keep you sensible. Not sure which wines fit the day drinking bill? Not to worry, our wine experts, Nathan Dale and Paul Quaglini, are eager to share their expertise and recommendations to help you create a casual, comfortable and celebratory day with the perfect low-alcohol wines.
Why Drink Low Alcohol Wine?
When the plan is to enjoy and elevate time spent at events or outings during the day - the right low alcohol wine is key. Low alcohol wines are the smart choice for an mid-day or afternoon drink because they can be enjoyed throughout the course of a day without going overboard. Additionally, low alcohol wines are a great option for anyone looking to partake and stay calorie conscious. Nate shares that a low alcohol wine is considered, “...anywhere from 5%, which will generally be a sweeter wine, all the way up to the very, very high end of low alcohol which is about 12-12.5% to 13%.” The range of ABV in wine can vary greatly, according to Paul, so it is important to know where your favorite varietals sit to help you select one that will be suitable for drinking during your daytime activities. For instance, Nate explains that a California cabernet is generally going to be around 14-14.5% or 15% alcohol; whereas, a white wine is likely to be around 13%. As you shop, remember that the label is a great tool to help you choose. Paul reminds that, “If you are in question about how much alcohol is in the wine, just find it on that label.” Essentially, you’ll be on the hunt for a wine that comes from a climate where the grapes ripen on the vine slowly, “...so the sugar content stays low and therefore, the alcohol will also subsequently be low,” Nathan adds.
Want to learn more about reading and using the information on a wine label? Check out our other video explaining what you should be looking at.
What Kinds of Wine are Low-Alcohol?
There are several options for low alcohol wines, so it’s easy to find one to suit most people’s tastes. When looking at the range of low alcohol wines, at the higher end, a growing region like Burgundy, France is a great place to start, “...because Burgundy is generally a cool climate, it has a long ripening season.” Nathan explains. You’ll get low alcohol wines that don’t compromise on flavor. Another great option Paul suggests is Cleto Chiarli’s dry Lambrusco. This one clocks in around 10% ABV, it is effervescent, has this beautiful perfume of raspberries and tangerines, crisp acidity [and] it is also a fantastic food wine. Pinot grigio is, of course, a well-known day drinking option; however, Nathan’s personal favorite in the low alcohol category is, “...crispidy, cruchidy Italian white wines.” For instance, Cantine Volpi Gavi di Gavi DOCG is a stellar label that has dreamy acidity, minerality and is perfect for sipping throughout the day. A red option for easy, day sipping is Charles Pere & Fille Hautes Cote de Beaune which delivers mature flavors with 14% ABV.
What is the Best Wine for Day Drinking?
With several low alcohol options, which one is our go-to, never-misses-the-mark wine for day drinking? According to Paul, classic estate-grown German riesling is the winning wine for drinking during daylight hours. “There is no other wine in the world that offers as much finesse, intensity of flavor, bracing acidity and length of flavor, all wrapped up in a low alcohol package,” Paul admires. Saarstein Riesling is a glittering example in this category as a sweet, but structured riesling with flavors of pineapple and citrus and alluring acidity. At only 10% ABV, this flavor-forward, crisp wine is the ideal choice to pour and enjoy.
Ready to grab low alcohol wines for your next daycation? Grab one of Paul or Nathan’s day drinking picks above, from your local ABC store, or shop our full wine selection online.