Friday, 21 August 2009

France develops a low sugar wine for the health-conscious

A new Languedoc low sugar and low alcohol, rose and white wine have just been given the go ahead from French health authorities to be commercialised.
Claude Vialade, the wine grower behind the initiative, is marketing the wine with the label "So' Light" because it has only nine percent alcohol while most wines contain around 13 percent. The wine also has thirty percent less sugar than traditional wines.

"We have at the same time a wine with nine percent alcohol content and at the same time just 60 calories per 12 centilitre glass of wine. In other words, the same as in a light yoghurt and with less than 2 grams of sugar - meaning it's nearly sugar free and yet respects the exact same production quality as traditional wines," Vialade said.

According to Vialade, who owns "Les Domaines Auriol" near the southern French town of Narbonne, the wine is targeted at consumers who are concerned about living healthy and staying in shape while not being deprived of a little alcohol.

"We are targeting a population that is very conscious of eating and drinking healthily. They want to watch their weight and also don't want to lose points on their driving license if they drink. We are targeting wine lovers who like to drink a glass of wine with good food but without too much concentrated alcohol in it," Vialade said.

Even regular sports players can now drink a glass of wine without worrying about putting on too much weight or drinking too much alcohol after an intense workout.

When a testing of ''So' Light'' wine was organised at a local squash club, it was well received.

"It's easy to drink and could allow those who play sports to drink a little too. They shouldn't overdo it, of course," said Freddy Nolot after playing.

"It goes down very well," said his friend Fabien Barrot.

The wine was developed after research by the French wine research centre which belongs to INRA, France's National Institute for Agronomical Research, the agricultural research centre funded by the French state.

It was developed by growing grapes with less sugar and by reducing the alcohol content with a new distillation process.

"During economic crises, wine growers come and see us and say what can you do to help us? That's when our researchers look for urgent solutions. But it can take time. Coming up with a new sugar light wine for an example would normally take years. But with new technological breakthroughs we were able to work with international teams and come up with a rapid solution," said INRA's Director of wine research Jean Louis Escudier.

Escudier said wine enthusiasts can't tell the difference in taste between a wine with 13 or 14 percent alcohol and nine percent.

The wine grower behind "So' Light" Les Domaines Auriol is targeting several million bottles in sales in the next few years.

LEZIGNAN, FRANCE (AUGUST 19, 2009)REUTERS