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Dry January- Is It For You?

by Alison Phillips

After a rather long, difficult and somewhat anti-social year, 2020 came to an end. To get through this annus horribilus, where we were discouraged from getting together with friends, couldn’t go to restaurants and bars because they were closed, somehow, we found ways to connect with others. From Zoom calls to social distanced driveway and garage get togethers, we arranged a time and place, grabbed our favourite beverages from the liquor store and socialized 2020 style.

Everyone was talking about day drinking, or to heck with it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, it’s 2020 everywhere, and alcoholic consumption and snacking, ordering take out and picking up food became the norm.

Now, here we are. January 2021. We survived the chaos, but at what cost? Are we lazier now that we don’t need to get up, have a shower and get to the office? Are we having second and third cups of coffee to help us crawl out of our fog from lack of activity and too much binge drinking and eating junk?

Dry January is a concept that’s not new. It’s a time we choose to go cold turkey from all our over-indulgences, particularly after the big holiday season. Some give up alcohol, others do a detox diet, or give up coffee, chocolate, sugar, bread, or whatever “vice” you decide will make you feel better.

Studies do prove that giving up alcohol for 30 days is good for us. Most people after that realize they sleep better, are more focused, have more energy and even have lost 10 pounds. Others struggle with the aspect of socializing but not drinking alcohol and opting for a sparkling water.

Now, you may ask, what on earth am I, an owner of a Wine & Spirits store doing talking about encouraging a Dry January?

Good question. There’s another kind of Dry January………………….

Most wines are vinified Dry!

“ A dry wine is simply a wine that has no residual sugar, meaning it isn't sweet. ... To make a dry wine, the winemaker will instead let the fermentation process finish completely, allowing the yeast to consume all the sugar present. No more sugar, so no sugary sweetness; the wine is therefore dry.” – Vinepair

Not all of us over-indulged (??) Perhaps what's required is not giving something up, but raising the bar (pardon the pun) on doing things differently, with more effort and purpose.

The other way to do a Dry January is to explore some new wines you may have never tried. Read and learn about different grape varieties and challenge yourself to only try Dry wines this month. Choose from a puckery dry New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, or a crisp South African Chenin Blanc for example. If red is more your thing, you’re in for a treat! Unless you’re an Apothic Red wine fan (which is loaded with sugar!) you’ll enjoy trying red wines from around the world, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Petit Verdot, Syrahs, and Merlots, to name a few. Yes and all Dry! Experiment with pairing your dry wines with some new winter comforting meal recipes. Nothing says cozy and delicious like a savoury Boeuf Bourguignon and a Pinot Noir or Gamay on a cold winter’s night!

So, while we’re not discouraging you from trying the other Dry January, if you want some fun this winter, and can't travel, let us help you with discovering a new kind of Dry January. We're happy to provide wine suggestions, wine pairing for meals and new recipes or even your favourite take out meal. Please drop in or contact us. We can do curbside pick up or home delivery. We'd also love to see you in the store, from a distance with your favourite mask on!

Cheers and Happy New Year!

About the Author

Alison Phillips - World Traveller, Entrepreneur, Wine & Spirits Aficionado After living in Vancouver for over twenty five years, working in the travel industry in airlines, as sales manager for tour operators and as an educator at Canadian Tourism College, in 2007 I took a huge leap of faith and moved to Edmonton with my partner to open a Wine & Spirits store at West Edmonton Mall. He and I have spent the last 14 years building a successful business, while I also became a Level II Sommelier and French Wine Scholar. Wine and Spirits is life long learning, retail and all its facets can be frustrating and rewarding. We are very proud of our achievements. At Aligra, we host tastings, Wine Maker’s Dinners, charity events and educational classes in our store and around Edmonton. I have brought my love of sharing knowledge, writing, and travel from my previous career, and continue to look for ways to raise the bar in our competitive business. Now that our store is well established, with great staff in place, I decided to include more of my passion for travel in my life. We now have done several international wine tour groups including Bordeaux, The Okanagan, South Africa and a Viking River Cruise on The Douro in Portugal. Here we are in 2021, can't wait to start preparing and hosting more tastings and events and wine tours around the world once it's safe for us to do so.

Visit Alison Phillips's Website