Enjoying a glass of red at the office after work, sharing a nice bottle over dinner with the family or celebrating a night out with friends… these are all activities most of us can relate to and enjoy.
But there's also times when we strive to achieve balance, a healthier lifestyle or just want to reduce our alcohol consumption – for whatever reason. Whether that's enjoying a glass of wine after work but still being able to drive home, watching the waistline, increasing our gym sessions after a girls night out, or taking on the Dry July challenge.
So how can you navigate weeknight drinks when you've got work the next day – and still enjoy the joys and spoils of a glass of vino and your favourite activities? Achieving balance and a healthier lifestyle doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the things you enjoy the most. As we reveal…
For many, the thought of a midweek social event minus a full-strength wine is challenging. There's both the flavour compromise to deal with, and the ritual of drinking your favourite shiraz. The good news? You can have both.
Alcohol-free wines have come a long way. The new Hardys ZERO range is testament to that, offering a collection of quality and full-flavoured options to reduce alcohol intake and make healthier choices.
The ZERO Shiraz, is blended from fruit picked at optimum maturity, displaying a ripe flavour profile and a rounded palate with soft fine tannins. Hardys ZERO Chardonnay offers bright fruit flavours of white peach and honeydew melon with juicy acidity and a medium weight, softly textured palate, while Hardys ZERO Sparkling is soft and textured with flavours of lemon curd, melon and nougat, with a floral bouquet underpinned by white peach and citrus.
If you're wondering how it tastes just like your much-loved vino, minus the alcohol, here's the secret: the range is crafted using state-of-the-art technology (Zero Tech X) that gently de-alcoholises the wine at a cooler temperature while retaining natural flavours and body, without compromising on taste.
For those on a health kick, there's an extra bonus: Hardys ZERO is low sugar and lower calorie than full alcohol wines.
So you can still enjoying the social aspect of enjoying great quality wine - whether that's at home on the couch, at a bar or a barbecue with family or friends, minus the guilt and headache.
No matter our age or stage of life, we all face peer pressure on the daily from friends, colleagues, family, clients, and social butterflies.
Think: "Just one more drink, just one more dance, just one more story…"
It's challenging to control those voices when they want you to keep going and you know you've got a 6am wake up for work/exercise/meditation, or when you just don't feel like joining in.
But here's some news: Research shows that by developing a detailed plan of how you will face challenges, such as what you will do and say when there is a conflict or pressure, is effective.
The key to doing this? Understand your goals, set your boundaries at the outset, be firm in following them through, and be pleasant but stringent when counteracting challenges to your goals. Like this: "I'd love to catch up for dinner on Wednesday night, but I'll need to leave by 9pm. I'm sure we can fit heaps of fun into those 2 hours." If ordering a non-alcoholic beverage is challenging, take comfort in knowing you can enjoy a glass of Hardy's ZERO on your sofa when you get home.
And if you're pressured to stay longer? Smile, but stand firm in your decisions and do what's right for your long-term goals.
Socialising has well-documented benefits for individuals – it can lighten your mood, make you feel happier, lower your risk of dementia, and improve brain health.
The last thing you should do is stop socialising, but if you are finding the negative impacts of midweek socials are outweighing your health goals and the positives, swap your 'pressure points' for more manageable options.
A Saturday picnic with your friends, an antipasto platter and a bottle of Hardy's ZERO pinot, or a zero-alcohol midweek wind-down wine might be just the trick to having your cake (or, wine) and sticking to your health goals, too.