Alcohol gives pleasure to many but is also a serious problem in our society. The Scottish Government have introduced a minimum cost per unit whilst headlines, television and radio wisely inform us that drinking in excess of recommended guidelines is bad for our health.

Sadly though, nobody offers guidance or even starts a conversation to help us drink less wine, still enjoy a glass or two and encourage a healthier lifestyle. That is, until now. Getting a dialogue started is as easy as one, two, three. Every little helps.

  1.  Discovering good, lower (as opposed to low) alcohol wines opens the door to healthier drinking.
  2.  Pay just a little more to drink far better quality – drinking better wine can help you drink less.
  3.  A little planning helps even more.



Alcohol levels of wine have zoomed; 14.0% is now commonplace. Back in the day most wines maxed at 12.5%. Top quality, good value lower (as opposed to low) alcohol wines are still on our shelves and getting to know them is a fast track to healthier drinking.

There are hundreds of such bottles from Austria’s Gruner Veltliner at 11.5% to English Sparkling Wine and Champagne at 12%. Muscadet is 12%, Australian Hunter Valley Semillon and Vinho Verde weigh in at 11%, German Riesling even lower at 10%. Moscato d’Asti is 6%. On the red shelf look to France for Beaujolais, St. Joseph and St. Chinian (all 12.5%), and to Italy for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (12%) and Lambrusco Classico (11%). Rose d’Anjou is 10.5%. The alcohol level is on the label so you can easily check it out.



To most consumers wine is a complete mystery. The depressing result is that the average UK. bottle price is only about £5.50. Paying more can help you drink less. How?

Few realise that in a £5 bottle there’s only about 30 pence of wine! By the time your £5 pays for Duty (£2.16), VAT. at 20% (83 pence), profit margins and fixed costs (bottle, cork, label, shipping etc.) you’re left with about 30 pence of wine. That’s only 6% of the price tag. Not surprisingly, “30 pence quality” isn’t very exciting and doesn’t give you much to savour and swirl!

Now comes the clever bit!  When you pay £7.50 the Duty and fixed costs stay the same whilst the VAT. and profit margins, being a percentage of the retail price, increase only slightly which means you get about £1.65 of wine (22% of the price tag). So, by paying just £2.50 more you’re getting over 5 times more wine. By the same score, paying £10 gets you 10 times more wine (30% of the price). Paying £20 gets you about 25 times more wine (40% of the price).

Paying just a little more boosts wine quality BIGTIME so with bags more to savour and swirl there’s heightened enjoyment in every sip, helping many to drink less and promote a healthier lifestyle.



The Chief Medical Officer recommends that men and women drink no more than 14 units a week – 2 units a day.   One unit is about 85 millilitres (ml) of wine with 12% alcohol by volume by the way. Doctors say that it’s beneficial to have a day off; so every other day allows us 4 units, that’s two large 175ml. glasses every two days. That’s a fair deal, especially as by paying just a little more we’ll be drinking far, far better quality.


So, following simple rules can help us to drink better and less, still enjoy a glass or two of good wine and encourage a healthier lifestyle along the way. Let’s start the conversation. Every little helps.