low-dosage and zero-dosage wine (low calorie, low sugar, and sugar free wine and champagne)
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Whether for the new year or just to live a bit healthier, wellness is seemingly top-of-mind at this time of year. Taking part in a Dry January, eating more plant-based foods, and even counting calories and macros are common practice for those who are concerned about their health and weight. But while making healthier choices will make you feel better, losing your beloved sparkling wine and Champagne could make you question your continued judgement. This is where low-sugar wine, or low-dosage wine (as well as zero-dosage wine), can hit the sweet spot.

“For people who don’t want to do ‘Dry January’ or cut out alcohol entirely, but are still looking to up their wellness game in the new year, going for low-dosage bubbly is actually a great way to reduce unnecessary sugar while still enjoying the small indulgence of a glass or two of sparkling wine,” says Amanda Thomson, founder and CEO of Thomson and Scott, which manufactures low-dosage Prosecco.

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What Is Dosage, Anyway?

Rooted in the Champagne region of France, dosage is the practice of adding a bit of sweet wine to balance out what can sometimes be a very acidic or dry wine during the process of making sparkling wine and Champagne. Wines with very little added or residual sugar will be labeled low- or zero-dosage or extra brut, and will typically contain less than 6 grams of sugar per liter. However, for comparison’s sake, many of the most well-known Prosecco brands on the market contain 12 to 15 grams of sugar per liter, making them a booby trap for those who are watching their sugar intake.

Low-dosage and zero-dosage wines have been on the market for years, but are gaining attention right now for their lack of sugar.

New Year's Eve Champagne drinks

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There is a reason keto, paleo, and Whole30 lifestyle changes have become so popular–because the decrease in sugar intake these diets demand works for both improved health and weight loss. And for those who are fresh off a round or want to continue watching their sugar intake, low-dosage and no-dosage sparkling wine allows the chance to imbibe without feeling extra guilty about their choice.

“I fell in love with low-dosage sparkling wines specifically because I just felt better when I drank them. This starts with knowing what’s in our glass, including how much sugar,” says Thomson.

Other Benefits of Low-Dosage Wine

While sugar and caloric intake are major reasons that consumers are turning to the low- and no-dosage wines, there are other reasons that they should regularly make it into your wine rotation, whether you are watching your sugar or not.

Liz Martinez, wine director and sommelier at Detroit, Mich.-based Prime + Proper, says that she has an affinity for low- and no-dosage sparkling wines for two reasons: It showcases the skill of the winemaker and it also provides a better pairing with meals.

“I love a low- or no-dosage sparkler because the final product is more austere, more precise, laser focused, and allows you to really taste the wine for its sense of place, and it takes a lot of skill to produce a wine with nothing to hide. Low- or no-dosage wines are less manipulated and are great with food. More acid and less sugar equals better pairings,” she says.

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Thomson echoes this sentiment and explains that the lack of sugar in the wine helps sippers to better decipher the layers of flavor that sparkling wines contain, whether they are buttery and smooth or citrus-filled with a bite of green apple.

“The beauty of low-dosage wines is that the character of the wine comes through quite beautifully. These wines are crisp and bright, with notes of green apple and citrus. In Champagnes, the toasty or yeasty character we all love, as well as the minerality, is often more prominent. It’s a great way to showcase quality and purity in a wine, as nothing is masked by the addition of sugar,” she says.

Related Video: How to Open a Champagne Bottle

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