At REAL, we know that making a great non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternative is all about the acidity, the nose, the mouth feel, and the ability to sit just right when pairing with food. We also know that it’s as much about the quality of the ingredients as it is the brewing process.
We’ve realised that, in order to achieve those key elements, you don’t even have to use grapes in the first place.
Instead, we’re brewing fermented teas, and sommeliers, chefs and fans of non-alcoholic drinks are coming to us in droves. Our two styles – both of them wonderful non-alcoholic alternatives to sparkling wine – sell in over 2,000 locations across the UK, including over 50 Michelin-starred restaurants.
Where can I buy non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternatives in the UK?
REAL Kombucha can be found in some of the UK’s best restaurants, bars and hotels. The non-alcoholic alternative to sparkling wine is also available in certain supermarkets and online stores. However, many of our customers buy direct from our brewery in the Chilterns, UK. We use trusted couriers to deliver your kombucha, ensuring that the bottles reach you safely and securely.
An Award-Winning Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine Alternative
In July, 2020, we won Best No & Low Wine or Wine Alternative and Sommeliers’ Choice No & Low Award at the Imbibe No & Low Awards for our Royal Flush.
In presenting the awards, the judges said: “De-alcoholised wines lost out in this category to wine alternatives, which were declared by the judges generally to be ‘where the excitement is’. This part of the category was deemed so good that two winners were declared… Royal Flush was given the Sommelier’s Choice No & Low Award for being a drink with integrity and substance. ‘You can see the makers didn’t take any shortcuts and had a clear sense of wanting to make a drink that was an alternative to wine.’”
If it’s brewed from tea, how can it be a non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternative?
For non-drinkers and winemakers alike, non-alcoholic wine has often been a difficult prospect. Recently, the Sommelier Wine Awards offered this stark verdict: “The patchy quality of what’s on offer was borne out by a mixed range of low-and-no-alcohol wines. Some were reasonable, others were strange, and some were undrinkable. It was clear that the existing production technique of creating an alcoholic wine, removing the alcohol then adding other products to put back body and texture is incredibly hard to get right.”
Because many wine producers find it difficult to make non-alcoholic wines without damaging the ingredients in some way, there’s an increasing appetite to explore entirely different methods to find the answer. At REAL, we look towards methods that allow for a similar mouth feel like a prosecco, something that doesn’t rely heavily on sugar for body, and something that brings about the right level of acidity. We believe the production of a valid non-alcoholic alternative to sparkling wine starts with high-end, loose-leaf teas.
Just as a winemaker would respect the grapes and their terroir in order to create the best version of their drinks, REAL Founder and Master Brewer, David Begg, is passionate about the teas we source. Working alongside one of the UK’s best-known tea experts, Will Battle, David and his brewing team will select from hundreds of invoices (daily picks) from each tea harvest to find the flavours our customers have grown to love.
Nature’s magic is really on show when you ferment these wonderful teas. The process brings out extraordinary, natural flavours that most people would never associate with a bog-standard cuppa, meaning that we needn’t add any supplements. From Darjeeling First Flush, we draw out rich floral notes of rhubarb, white peach and blackcurrant to make our award-winning Royal Flush. Dragon Well produces nutty, straw-like notes, imbued with strong citrusy overtones, which we ferment into our Dry Dragon. It’s tea, certainly, but it suddenly seems to be so much more.
For these reasons, REAL Kombucha has found its way into some of the UK’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants, bars and hotels, offering people a REAL non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternative for those occasions when they choose not to drink.
But, can a sparkling wine really be made of anything other than grapes?
We recognise that most people expect their wines to come from the vineyard, and as such may find it a difficult leap to imagine wines coming from teas. So, it’s important to underline the fact that we’re making a non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternative.
That said, it’s not unusual to find tea wine, fruit wine, rice wine or even honey wine in different cultures. With that in mind, we welcome alternative ideas and enjoy the debate. We’ve seen our drinks described as kombucha wine, gourmet kombucha or even premium kombucha, each of which we love as they essentially point to the notion that finely fermented tea can sit at the table as a genuine non-alcoholic alternative to sparkling wine, Prosecco or bubbly.
Here’s to drinking differently. We hope you’ll join us.
How many calories are in our non-alcoholic wine alternatives?
We’ve answered the “how many calories in non-alcoholic wine” question in this blog post. However, in short, here’s how we measure up:
- 1 regular 120ml flute of REAL Royal Flush = 20 calories
- 1 regular 175ml wine glass of REAL Royal Flush = 30 calories
To put that into context, a flute of fully alcoholic bubbly would have approximately 89 calories, while a wine glass of sparkling wine would have 144 calories. (Full disclosure: this is based on information from weightlossresources.co.uk.)
As you can see, due to its low sugar and calorific content, a glass of our exquisite non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternatives might be considered a relatively healthy drink to consume.
A REAL Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine Alternative
Royal Flush has won awards in the non-alcoholic world. It is a very regal brew, perfect as a non-alcoholic Prosecco or bubbly substitute. We add nothing, but you’ll taste notes of rhubarb, white peach and a touch of blackcurrant. Pairs wonderfully with white fish, white meat and cream sauces.
A REAL Non-Alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc Alternative
Imagine a fresh, sparkling, dry Sauvignon Blanc. This is our non-alcoholic replacement. Dry Dragon is light and citrusy with notes of sweet lemons and grapefruit, but with a delicate leafy undertone. Pair with shellfish, particularly oysters, green vegetables such as broccoli or asparagus, green salads and fruit.