To drink, or not to drink… nil.

20 years ago I wouldn't have been seen dead drinking a non-alcoholic beer, at least not in public.. What's more, the taste and quality of those beers was pretty dire, so if I did consume one, it was always a reminder for the next 18 months of how much i didn’t like non-alcoholic beer….. How things have changed.
Today, as a premium boutique wine producer, who generally enjoys a glass of wine or two most evenings, I'm of the age of wanting to consume regularly, more moderately, and better. So when my wife announced she was setting up an online business with a partner to sell non alcoholic drinks, I was concerned. How little did I know..
This fast growing niche market is being thrust forward globally to the extent of non alcoholic drinks ‘Bars’ opening up in major cities like New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. How could there possibly be enough variety of non-alco drinks in the market-place, and what's more, what the hell did they taste like?
Well, you’ll be surprised - very pleasantly so.. I'd toyed with a zero alcohol Heineken once or twice in the earlier part of 2020 following the usual indulgent festive season, and I’d also tried a range of non-alco wines produced by a friend. “Good”, I said “very good”.. as if to state a marker for “yes, they're drinkable”. But would I actually drink one? Fast forward 6 months and my wife sat me down for dinner with a bottle of non-alcoholic Rose called Cognato. We drank the whole bottle. I was astonished. And it felt good, not in a lifted boozy way, just in a sated and contented one. Which leads me to the question of whether it's the taste or the effect that can cause addiction of alcohol for certain people.. 
"What else have you got in your armoury" I asked? “Oh plenty, we’ve listed over a 100 products“ she said, “and counting”..
I’ve now tried some of their wines, beers, spritzers, gins and seltzers.. none have disappointed, on the contrary, a lot of drinking pleasure has been delivered. The quality of these non-alco drinks is better than ever; partly because of technology but also as a result of the starting point of the wine, beer or spirit to be de-alcoholised is of a much higher quality in the beginning than compared to 20 or 30 years ago. “Who’s drinking this stuff” I ask my wife. “Loads” she's says.. from pregnant mothers to be, abstainers, AA contenders, over-indulgers, drivers and chauffeurs, and those who simply no longer wish to consume much or any alcohol, but are loathed to order another orange juice, diet coke or fizzy water.
So who would have thought, to drink alcohol, or drink nil..
Richard Hilton
Owner - Richard Hilton Vineyards