|Sutter Home Fre
While more of us than ever before are imbibing in that favorite glass of wine,
a growing number of consumers would like to if it weren't for the alcohol-so they
abstain. "We call them situational abstainers and I'm referring to people
who are pregnant, who are designated drivers, and those who can't drink for medical
or religious reasons," said Steve Franchetti, brand manager for Sutter Home
To still enjoy that wine experience several companies produce
non-alcoholic wines. Sutter Home of St. Helena, the folks that first brought you
White Zinfandel, have been creating several varieties of non-alcoholic wine for
more than a decade. They're appropriately called Sutter Home Fre and may be more
like the real thing, thanks to a new technique that's used to create them. "All
of our alcohol-free wines start out as Sutter Home varietal wines and what we
do is we put them through a proprietary process known as the Spinning Cone Technology.
It's a process that was developed in Australia," said Franchetti.
so-called spinning cone removes the alcohol in a gentler way than other methods
by doing it at low temperatures. The result is a beverage with less than 0.25
percent alcohol. "As far as the flavor is concerned, I mean let's face it,
every time you remove alcohol from a product you're going to take a little bit
of that mouth feel away from it. But what you are left with is the aroma and the
essential flavor," Franchetti said.
In the beginning Sutter Home
produced alcohol-free White Zinfandel, Sparkling Brut and Chardonnay. It's now
expanded into Merlot and premium white and red. The winery's Chef Jeffery Star
has even concocted a variety of tasty drinks and cocktails. Today Fre is the most
successful nonalcoholic wine brand in the U.S., with 69 percent of the market
If you're a real wine connoisseur this may not be for you, but it's
definitely an alternative that's finding an audience.
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