Column: The sugar war’s effect on wine

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There is a trend for low-sugar diets and lifestyles that could affect your favourite wine.

With your help, we can stop the decline and continue to drink, in moderation, our favourite wine, beer and spirits that taste as they should.

In the last few years the term #cleaneating has become ubiquitous; this diet promotes eating unprocessed whole foods, but has caused orthorexia in some (an obsession with consuming only foods that are pure, causing the person to end up malnourished).

While fad diets have been around for hundreds of years, reducing sugar intake is more serious (to wine lovers) as it could influence what’s in your wine rack.

Most of us would agree with the benefits in decreasing sugar consumption. Less processed food, fizzy drinks, tomato sauce, smoothies, would lead to lower blood pressure, decreased heart attack risk and a sharper brain.

The government has published draft legislation on a sugar tax on fizzy drinks which is to begin next April. Could it be one small step to a similar duty on alcoholic beverages, which are also infamous for their sugar count?

Admittedly it is less likely to be wine, but instead liqueurs which must have a certain amount of sweetness by EU law and cocktails that use high-sugar mixers .

Already there is Skinny Prosecco, capitalising on the trend for low-calorie drinks.

This fizz was launched last year and so well anticipated (or marketed) that there was a waiting list after it sold out.

A 100ml glass has 13 calories less than regular Prosecco, hardly worth the bother. Most Prosecco is ‘extra dry’ – meaning it’s sweeter than a Brut. So, what you’re getting is basically a Brut prosecco.

If you were keen to cut down your sugar/alcohol ratio then choose instead any brut sparkling wine – try Louis de Grenelle Brut, a sparkling white from the Loire Valley which is made in the same way as Champagne and the nearest in taste.

So, what if this new fad for lower sugar wines influences winemakers to change the way they make their wine? And therefore, losing all the wonderful diversity you can find at Le Bon Vin.

We should bear in mind there is only half a teaspoon in a glass of red wine, 1 ½ in white wine and less than a teaspoon in Prosecco. Also, that a glass of wine is a luxury.

After all, Plato said ‘nothing more excellent or valuable than wine was ever granted by the gods to man’. Who would argue with that?