***This is the first in a series of posts where I’m going to tell you what has worked for me during my pregnancy. I am not a doctor. I do not play one on TV. I don’t think I even played doctor much as a kid. (I was more the ballerina or veterinarian type…) So please, please, please talk to your doctor if you have any questions before following my suggestions.***
Guess what!? I finally found a grown-up drink I can enjoy while pregnant! After Robbin gave me the great bottle of non-alcoholic wine back in Seattle, I decided it was worth the effort to see what we could get here in Milwaukee. Turns out there are at least two (inter?)national companies, Ariel and Fre that specialize in non-alcoholic wine.
And yes, this is wine. Sort of. Both have a special treatment they put their wines through to remove the alcohol. One of the companies claims their beverages have the same amount of alcohol as a glass of orange juice that has sat on the counter overnight. (Who knew this was a way to measure alcohol content?!) It’s not the super sweet sparkling juice you find in the maraschino cherry section of your liquor store. It is for grown-ups enjoying dinner, not little kids on New Year’s Eve.
I first called Thief Wine to get their recommendations and see if they had any wine for pregnant women in stock. They don’t carry any of these wines, but did recommend Fre for their pregnant and otherwise abstaining customers. Unfortunately, my next stop, Ray’s liquor store, only had the full line of Ariel with just one bottle of Fre. I thought it would be best to try a red and a white, so I selected their Cabernet Savignon and Chardonnay versions.
Ariel Chardonnay Non-Alcoholic Wine
I should preface the review of the non-alcoholic chardonnay by saying this is not my white wine of choice. I normally prefer a Pinot Grigio or slip all the other way into a Riesling. Ariel only had a “Blanc”, Moscato, and Chardonnay versions, so I picked this option to be the highest quality and least sweet.
Least sweet it was! This wine did not taste like it’s alcoholic friend, but it did taste good! The night I tried it, I had a girlfriend over for cupcakes and business discussions. (Yep, my favorite kinds of nights!) When paired with the overtly sweetness of the cupcakes, the wine took on an almost buttery palate. It was very smooth with just a hint of the tartness that came from being closer to grape juice than the real deal. My girlfriend isn’t preggo and could enjoy regular wine if she wanted, but we both had a couple of glasses. It was surprisingly good!
I used the leftovers in a cauliflower soup recipe. It was perfect to use in cooking and for $7.99 a bottle, it’s easy on the pocketbook, too.
Ariel Cabernet Savignon Non-Alcoholic Wine
I tried the Cabernet on a Friday night while getting ready for and enjoying a small dinner party. The simple fact that I was able to hold a wine glass vs. another cup of water made this pregnant lady happy. There’s just something about a Friday night that makes you want a reward. I could go for ice cream (which of course I did later), but that early in the night is usually better suited for an adult beverage.
As for the actual taste – it was quite good! Again, it didn’t taste like wine in its truest sense, but it had the rich flavor a good red should. There was a buttery smooth sensation, similar to the Chardonnay, left in my mouth after it was gone. The wine was good on its own, but better as a dinner accompaniment (goat cheese toasts, pork tenderloin, and roasted pears).
Overall Review of Non-Alcoholic Wine for Pregnant Ladies – Try It!
The flavor of the red wine was a little more bold than the white. I really enjoyed both bottles, but would probably pick the red if I got it again. Would I order this wine when the regular stuff is legal? Probably not. Except maybe to use to cook. But in the mean time, this is a good stand in, particularly with a grown-up dinner with friends or at the end of a particularly hellish day.
Cheers to you, soon-to-be mama!