Family dinners are a cherished tradition in many households. They provide an opportunity for loved ones to come together, share stories, and enjoy a delicious meal. Whether it's a special occasion or just a routine gathering, the right wine can enhance the experience. However, when it comes to family dinners, alcohol-free wine (AF) provides an inclusive and thoughtful option for all guests.
In recent years, AF wine has gained popularity, offering a non-alcoholic alternative to traditional wines. So join Wise Bartender as we explore the world of AF wine and discover what to drink with the family, whilst remaining responsible throughout the night.
Types of alcohol-free wine
Sparkling AF wine can be an excellent choice for toasts and celebrations. Served as an alternative to champagne and the much beloved prosecco, it adds a festive touch to the meal, making it a great option for special occasions.
Red and White Wine
Much like traditional wine, AF red and white wines are versatile and pair well with various dishes. Alcohol-free red wine often offers fruity and earthy flavours, while alcohol-free white wine is known for its crisp and refreshing taste.
Rosé AF wine is a delightful option, especially for those who prefer something lighter and fruitier. Its pink hue and delicate flavours make it a great choice for summer gatherings or lighter meals.
Tips for Serving AF Wine
When serving AF wine with family dinners, keep these tips in mind:
1. Chilling your AF wine: Ensure that white and rosé AF wines are adequately chilled, typically around 45-50°F (7-10°C), while red AF wine is best served at slightly cooler than room temperature.
2. Glassware: Use appropriate glassware to enhance the experience. Stemmed glasses are preferred for white and rosé AF wines, while red AF wine can be served in larger wine glasses with a wider bowl to allow for aeration.
3. Pairing: Consider the flavours of your dishes and the preferences of your guests when selecting AF wine. Experiment with different pairings to find what works best for your family's tastes.
Pairing alcohol-free wine with traditional family dinners
A classic Sunday roast with all the trimmings calls for a robust and comforting alcohol-free wine pairing.
But the wine you choose will depend on the star of the show: your choice of meat. Most prefer a traditional roast beef, potatoes and gravy which is best accompanied by a rich red AF wine, whose earthy notes will enhance the flavours of the red meat exceptionally. But, if your family is more partial to a nice chicken or pork roast, then we’d suggest a crisp white with subtle fruity notes, like V.No Alcohol Free White Wine.
For a casual, picnic-style family dinner, go for a bottle of rosé AF wine. Its fruity and floral notes make it a versatile companion for salads, sandwiches, and fresh fruit. It's the perfect choice for an alfresco meal.
You might think that a spaghetti bolognese, with its full, beefy flavours, is best complimented by a rich red wine, but we’ve found that a full-bodied white wine helps to cut through heavier sauces, as well as give them extra body.
In fact, an alcohol-free chardonnay such as the aromatic McGuigan Zero Chardonnay Alcohol Free White Wine with plenty of acidity works best with this Italian classic.
Bangers and mash
Bangers and mash is a good bit of pub grub that the whole family can enjoy, but you might never have considered pairing it with wine before. This quintessential British classic shouldn’t be excluded from the wonderful world of wine, and with the right non-alcoholic combination, you are safe to enjoy a glass or two around the table with the kids.
The key to finding the correct wine for a bangers and mash meal is to understand how the flavours of a good red wine pair with sausages and gravy. That’s why we’d suggested a soothing red with a fruit-forward finish. Think fruity Shiraz or a berry-infused Cabernet.
Your typical Friday night favourite will be elevated in a way you never expected.
When the grill is fired up, consider a bottle of sparkling AF wine. Its effervescence and celebratory feel can complement the smoky flavours of barbecue dishes, from grilled chicken to sticky ribs. The crispness of the wine also balances the richness of barbecue sauces.
Macaroni cheese is comfort food personified, and the cheesy flavours of this family favourite sit beautifully alongside an oaken or smoky white wine, especially when the macaroni is dressed up to the nines with bacon and croutons.
A nice dry alcohol-free riesling like De Bortoli The Very Cautious Riesling Alcohol Free White Wine will elevate your typical throw-together meals from something simply warm and comforting to a meal you look forward to having every week, whether you’re feeding your children or parents.
Pizza has grown from the epitome of Italian cuisine to a staple in households across the UK. From freshly cooked margherita to takeaway and even vegan options, there really is a pizza for all tastes, which makes choosing a wine pairing a tad more complex than a tray bake or standard recipe meal, but we’re up for the challenge.
One of our favourite, although less raved about, combinations is the humble margherita with a dry alcohol-free rosé, both flavours equally light on the palette. Or, if you’re a fan of a vegetable pizza, whether vegan or vegetarian, a Chardonnay would do the trick splendidly. Sauvignon is our vino of choice when eating meat-lovers pizzas, from pepperoni to your all American meat feast.
Our best advice would be to avoid red wine with pizza as it can often be too heavy or overpowering for the flavour combinations we all know and love when delighting in the doughy goodness.
If you’re still not sure where to start when selecting alcohol-free wine for a meal with your family, then we’ve got just the guide for you. As experts on the wondrous world of alcohol-free wine, we’ve collated a few of our favourite suppliers to ensure you find the best buy for your buck:
Zeno: Zeno Wines pride themselves on creating handcrafted wines that blend the tastes of discerning wine drinkers and complete novices. Their selection of white, red and sparkling wines are liberated from alcohol, providing you all the benefits of drinking alcohol-free, without compromising on flavour.
Hand On Heart: Choose Hand On Heart to experience the sophistication, balance and harmony of California grapes. These stunning wellness weary wines are designed with passion, and crafted to be the ideal pairing for your meals.
Not Guilty: Not Guilty is the pinnacle of alcohol-free wine making that channels the cheek of alcohol consumption with the desire to stay sober. Choose from crisp white Pinot Grigio, robust red, or a lightly bubbled, flirty rosé.
Moderato: Moderato are on a mission to create fantastic tasting French wine that champions sustainability throughout their process.
Conviv: Conviv is a vermouth style AF spirit that provides the ideal base for cocktails. Mixed with tonic, lemonade or your favourite sparkling wine, this 0.0% tipple is perfect for delivering a sense of occasion to any family meal.
If we’ve piqued your curiosity and you’re considering pairing alcohol-free wine with your family dinner, take a look at our wide range of red wine, white wine, sparkling wine and rosé. If you’re still not sure where to begin, we’ve got just the thing for you: Wine Packs from Wise Bartender are pre-packed selections so that you can sample our choice of top wines and find a new favourite.