Dubai's latest luxury: wine that includes 24-carat gold but no alcohol

Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:15am EDT
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DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai built the world's tallest building, put a ski slope inside a shopping mall and gave its cops a Lamborghini for a police car. Where else would you sell a $150 bottle of 'halal' non-alcoholic sparkling white wine with flecks of 24-carat edible gold leaf gleaming at the bottom?

It makes sense in Dubai, a Gulf Arab emirate that attracts tourists with the promise of an opulent lifestyle. Or so Tony Colley, head manager of Lootah Premium Foods, which distributes the wine, told Reuters.

"It has gold in it for no good reason apart from it's fun, it's fantastic, it's frivolous, it's totally Dubai," Colley said recently at the Bystro restaurant, where the sleek bottles are on display.

Bystro owner Josh Benson said the gold-leaf bottles were offered a few weeks ago. The restaurant had begun offering non-alcoholic wines in general a few months ago, and they went over well.

"For people that cannot drink ... it's a nicer thing to have with a steak than a Pepsi," Benson said.

The wine is produced by Dismark Products, a Spanish company whose Lussor brand includes a variety of red and white non-alcoholic wines. The grapes come from vineyards in Spain and a German vacuum technique removes the alcohol.

The idea of non-alcoholic wines is not new, but Colley says this brand is different because it does not include glycerine, sugar, or additives, unlike other non-alcoholic wines.

Dan Zvinca, an Australian customer at Bystro, said he had sampled non-alcoholic wine - though not the gold-specked one - and "was surprised at how good" it was.

"I think it's a good replacement. It tastes like the real thing," he told Reuters.   Continued...

The skyline is seen with the Burj Khalifa as ships dock at Port Rashid, in Dubai May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah