What the heck is Dry January?

The original  Dry January campaign started in the UK and was first launched in 2013 by the organization Alcohol Change UK. One of the founding members of this campaign was Emily Robinson, a marathon runner.  She had previously given up alcohol for a month to prepare for a half marathon and wanted to share the benefits, so she helped start the present day Dry January Campaign. 

But the idea of abstaining from alcohol goes back even further, with some different motivating factors.  In 1942, Finland had their own “Sober January” that was initiated by the government as a war effort against the Soviet Union. The government encouraged people to stop drinking for the month of January to save on national resources. 

Across the various ways the Dry January movement is practiced, the usual rationale is that abstaining from alcohol promotes health and wellness.  It’s right up there with starting diets and joining gyms, all common pursuits in January as we start a new year.  

If you are looking to keep the start of your 2024 alcohol-free, check out a few different popular non-alcoholic and alcohol-free alternatives to help you keep your New Year’s resolution going strong. 


Alternatives to Traditional Alcoholic Wines

Whether you are looking for an alternative during Dry January, a safe option during pregnancy or something to sip as the Designated Driver, there are some nuances in the nonalcoholic wine world to be aware of. 


Non-Alcoholic vs Wine Alternatives to Try During Dry January

Non-alcoholic wines start as regular alcoholic wines and then go through a dealcoholization process to remove the alcohol. They will end up with less than 0.5% alcohol (labeled as non-alcoholic) or with 0.0% alcohol (labeled as alcohol-free).

Wine alternatives are drinks that are made to replicate the wine-drinking experience, including the taste, texture, and feeling, by using ingredients that are not necessarily always grapes.

Brands to Look For:

Dealcoholized Wines for Dry January

Fre Rose alcohol free wine Luminara - Dry January wine alternatives Noughty - Dry January wine alternatives Pierre Zero - Dry January wine alternatives

  • Pierre Zero $25-40 $$$
    • Pierre Zér is a complete range of dealcoholized wines. It provides all the pleasure of wine aromas without the alcohol.
  • Thomson & Scott Noughty $20-25 $$$
    • NOUGHTY, is the world’s first premium non-alcoholic wine portfolio. Leading the global shift to alcohol-free drinking.
  • Luminara $15-25 $$
    • Illuminating the idea of what fine wine can be, Luminara is the first exquisitely crafted, Napa Valley appellation alcohol-removed wine.
  • Fre $10-15 $
    • Fre non-alcoholic wines are a deliciously sophisticated alternative with a variety of flavors including reds, whites and sparkling.

Wine Alternatives for Dry January

Unfiltered Ferments Proxies - Dry January wine alternatives

  • Proxies $15-30 $$
    • According to their advertising, “All of the complexities of wine, none of the alcohol.” They are the only non-alcoholic wine alternative endorsed by award-winning chefs and top sommeliers.   
  • Unified Ferments $25-30 $$$
    • Non alcoholic fermented beverages produced from single-origin teas
  • Apothékary $33 $$$
    • Alcohol alternative tinctures to replace your drinks with herbal formulas to promote health and wellness

Apothekary tinctures - Dry January wine alternatives

Staying Social Without The Booze During Dry January

It may seem daunting to try and stay connected with family and friends when you are abstaining from alcohol but here are a few tips to help you stay social and feel comfortable while doing it.

  • Explore Non-Alcoholic Drink Options:

    Whether you are staying at home or going out to meet friends, there are now so many different options for drink choices from mocktails, to wines and wine alternatives to keep you feeling in the festive social mood. At the very least, these give your hands something to hold and say cheers as you catch up with family and friends. 

  • Find Other Ways To Help Manage Social Anxiety:

    For some people, it can feel a bit overwhelming in a social setting, even with people you love. So in the past, you may have had a drink or two to calm those nerves. Instead of that customary drink to loosen you up for a gathering, consider trying some relaxation techniques. You could try meditation to help get you in the festive mood. There are some great apps with different meditation options. Even just taking a few extra minutes in the car for some deep breaths to help yourself be present works wonders at curbing that social anxiety

  • Branch out on your hobbies:

    Maybe you and your friends’ go-to gathering is a champagne brunch to catch up. But, the new year means time for trying new things too! Switch things up and maybe try catching up over a hike, or meet friends for a local art class. Touring a museum or heading to the dog park are good ideas too. 

Here at Wine Lovers Travel we absolutely love wine but also recognize the need for balance in life. So we hope if you are joining in Dry January this year, these tips and alternatives help you find a bit more of that balance and wellness restoration you may be looking for this year.