Although brunch cocktails are ubiquitous and breakfast beers are on the up and up, wine for breakfast has not yet gotten its due. Which is a shame, given that wine is basically juice for adults. And wine, unlike the juice you may currently be enjoying in the a.m., has the unique power to make any meal feel like a special occasion. And you better believe that breakfast should feel like a special occasion.
After sacrificing myself to three days of nonstop wine tasting, I’ve determined that these wines are worthy substitutes for the fruit juice you usually drink with breakfast. Thanks to prominent tasting notes that bring to mind actual fruit, you won’t miss the pulp a bit.
What to drink instead of…
Orange wine may be the next rosé. So, when you choose to drink it instead of your daily OJ, you can be proud of yourself for being very on trend (if not for making the healthiest choices). During the winemaking process, juice from white grapes sits with the grape skins for a length of time, as when making a red wine, producing a golden orange hue in the finished product. Orange wine tastes somewhere in between a red and white, too, and can have bright citrus notes in addition to the tannic flavor of a red. So, no, it doesn’t exactly taste like oranges, but it’s complex and looks great in the glass, which gives it a sexier edge on orange juice.
You may be tempted to swap any wine for grape juice, but some wines are much grapier than others. Look for a light-bodied, summer red, like a Beaujolais or other red wine blend. Wind Gap’s specialty red, Soif, made from seven different vine varieties, is a good example.
Rosé has a color and flavor reminiscent of grapefruit juice. Grapefruit-flavored rosé is even a thing, at least in France. But just about any dry rosé with crisp, citrus flavors will work to replace your grapefruit juice (in fact, grapefruit is a commonly listed tasting note on bottles of rosé). I’m partial to California winery Matthiasson’s rosé, made from a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Counoise grapes.
While some Sauvignon Blancs are notable for a grassy, mineral quality, those from warm climates have tropical notes that make them the perfect substitute for vibrant pineapple juice. Look out for pineapple and other tropical fruits listed as tasting notes on the label.
Opting for Chardonnay over apple juice is a no brainer (you know, since most of us stopped reaching for the toddler favorite right around the time drinking wine became an option). Chardonnays range from rich and buttery to light and crisp, depending on winemaking techniques (oaked vs. unoaked) and region. From the right winery, these green-skinned grapes can come out tasting like tart apples. Chardonnays made with grapes from cooler climate vineyards will have a crisp green apple flavor, while those from warmer climates will be recognizable by buttery, yellow apple notes.
To get the flavor of cranberry juice (with similar antioxidant benefits!) seek out a Grenache. Wines made from Grenache grapes have a berry flavor with hints of spice and a color that would fool even the most regular cranberry juice drinker.
Pair with eggs, pancakes, waffles, bagels, toaster pastries, cereal, or any other breakfast staple, and drink responsibly.