-by Laura Milnes from Kelowna Now
Happy New Year!
January is a funny time; so many of us make promises to ourselves to get to the gym, cut back on booze, quit smoking and curb our phone addiction. Yet so many of us never seem to make it past the two-week mark and fall back to our old habits by February.
This needn't be the case; all it takes are a few small tweaks on a daily basis - especially when it comes to enjoying wine. It may seem like you don't want to touch alcohol for a solid seven months after the holidays - a fair, and justified feeling - but with these tips, you'll be able to moderate your consumption and actually begin enjoying your wine, as opposed to guzzling it.
Start Enjoying Your Wine with Food
Have you ever travelled to France and noticed how they approach their consumption of wine? Wine is present so long as there is food on the table; once the meal is done, the wine disappears too.
Plan your meals around what wine you think will pair best with it - make it a fun experience.
This will accomplish a few things - you'll start sipping your wine slower, the food will taste better, as will the wine. You'll notice you may stop looking for wines to throw back and instead start seeking out different styles and flavours based on what pairs best with the foods you enjoy most.
An added benefit to drinking wine with food - the alcohol is absorbed by the food, which prevents you from feeling inebriated - which results in no hangover - or - guilt.
It's Time to Get Comfortable with Dry Wines
A reason we feel so terrible during the holidays is largely due to consumption of excess sugar. Many popular wines have as much residual sugar as a can of coke. Apothic Red, for example, carries a whopping 17 grams of residual sugar per litre - a likely culprit for that sore head the morning after.
Dry wine is lower in sugar and thus, calories. A dry wine is one that has less than five grams of sugar per litre - higher alcohol wines are often good compasses indicating less sugar content, but not always, as often sugar is added post fermentation.
Look for high acid, dry whites like Sauvignon Blanc, brut sparkling wines or Italian or Spanish reds - they tend to be quite dry and lower in residual sugar.
Drink More Water!
With every glass of wine you consume, you should be matching it with a glass of water. This will entirely abolish a hangover the next morning and also assist with the absorption of alcohol in your system.
If you don't enjoy drinking water, try adding cucumber, limes, mint, ginger, or lemon and storing it in a jug in your fridge. It's an incredibly delicious way to easily hydrate throughout the day and while drinking wine.
Just Drink Less
We're all guilty of it - we feel we should go cold turkey on everything that's "bad" for us - sugar, dairy, gluten, alcohol and coffee - but is that realistic? It's why so many of us fail to honour our goals for the impending new year.
An average glass of wine is five ounces - try drinking half of what you'd normally pour, or one glass as opposed to two, and see how you feel. Slow down when you're sipping - pay attention to what you're tasting.
Get mindful and present with your wine - what memories or situations does it evoke? Does it make you think of a certain food you might want to enjoy with it?
There's no reason to cut certain things out of our diets so abruptly - so long as we have a healthy and moderate approach in how we consume them.

Laura Milnes is a Kelowna native and local wine professional, operating her own wine and hospitality consulting company. Laura is WSET certified, and continually expands her wine knowledge through education, research and travel. You can find Laura hosting wine related pop up events and consulting with wineries throughout the Okanagan with a focus on wine education and training. The rare time Laura is not reading about, or tasting wine, you can find her travelling with her partner, cooking or doing DIY projects for her home. To learn more about wine check out her Instagram page @silkandcoupe.