I Tried Alcohol-Free 'Wine Water' and It Was More Depressing Than It Sounds
I love drinking wine. You can frequently catch me sipping rosé at a rooftop happy hour, ordering a glass of sauvignon blanc with dinner, or leaving Trader Joe’s with a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck. I love the ritual of uncorking the glass bottle, the “glug, glug, glug” sound when it hits the glass and, most importantly, the way it tastes.
I have read every article about why you should glass of wine every day, and I very much subscribe to that idea. If my favorite beverage is supposed to deliver anti-aging, immune system-supporting anti-oxidants, why wouldn’t I imbibe once in a while? However, I also very much subscribe to the idea that a wine hangover is one of the worst types of hangovers that you can have. All that sugar will absolutely wreck your tummy.
That’s why when I heard about a zero-calorie, zero-sugar “wine water,” I was intrigued. Isn't that just grape juice, you ask? Nope!
Napa Hills' vineyard-enriched water boasts a key ingredient called VitaRes, a heart-healthy antioxidant blend with extracts of resveratrol and natural grape skin and red wine polyphenols. The drinks are alcohol free, calorie free, and have less than one gram of sugar, all while boasting the same levels of antioxidants of a glass of red wine, promising all of the benefits of wine but none of the bad stuff, like wine bloat.
Of course, it’s not a wine, it’s a water... that I hoped would taste like wine or at least similar. And the flavors (Cherry Rosé, Lemon Chardonnay, and Peach Grigio) sound good. Much to my disappointment, I swiftly found that they were not.
I was most excited for the rosé, as I am a big fan of anything rosé and all things pink. While the drink itself is a pleasing pink color, the flavor tastes like cherry cough syrup. I could not imagine drinking this in place of wine, in place of water, or at all, unless I really craved the taste of medicine — which I don’t. I had to re-check that it had less than a gram of sugar, because it tasted so sickly sweet. I wouldn't even use this as a chaser with real alcohol. I would just take the shot and go.
I tried Lemon Chardonnay next. I am typically not a chardonnay person; I find the flavor to be too oak-y. Plus, every time I have a glass of chardonnay I feel like Kirsten Cohen from "The O.C." when it’s very clear that I am way more of a Summer Roberts. Surprisingly, I sort of liked the Lemon Chardonnay. It had a pleasant taste to it, vaguely similar to Propel, that was not quite lemonade but not quite water with lemon. It would be an excellent Gatorade flavor to have if I were hungover. However, I doubt it has the necessary electrolytes.
Peach Grigio was a pretty amber color, and it tasted exactly like Diet Peach Snapple. Since I have enjoyed bottles of Snapple before, this is the one I would most realistically drink. However, neither Peach Grigio, Lemon Chardonnay, or Cherry Rosé tasted like wine. They didn’t even evoke the flavors of wine. Yes, I was supposedly drinking a beverage that was full of antioxidants, but they didn’t even taste good.
If you want flavored water, you’re probably better off having a La Croix — and if you love wine, you’re better off having a glass of the real stuff, like these 25 wines for fall.
Beverages for review were provided by their producers at no cost to the writer.