MANY of you will be taking part in Sober October, the idea being to forego booze for the month of October, often to raise money for a charitable cause. I think this is a great idea, and there are so many good causes to support. Our wee village pub is also doing a big push to support the temporary non-imbibers with a new range of tasty soft drinks as well as some impressive mocktails including the imaginatively titled Safe Sex on a Beach.

Even in our basement booze emporium, you can find some non-alcoholic options. Pistonhead produce a very tasty non-alcoholic dry-hopped lager called Flat Tire (Inverarity One to One, £1.05 per can). They definitely don’t compromise on taste or quality, so you get all of the flavour at just 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume).

If this all sounds like too much hard work, and you’d rather keep your powder (rather than your palate) dry for Dry January, you could always focus on half bottles. Now, I’m not suggesting for a minute that you should drink less…instead I’m saying if you have a very good half bottle in the rack, you can open it to have a wee extra glass after you’ve finished the first full bottle of the night. A decent wine merchant will always have a selection of half bottles available. Just bear in mind that a half bottle will mature at a quicker rate than a full bottle, so a 2015 half bottle will taster richer and more mellow than a 2015 full bottle from the same producer.

Valduero Crianza 2014 Ribera del Duero (Inverarity One to One, £10.49 for the half bottle). This is a fabulously rich Spanish Tempranillo at a great price. It works well with hearty stews, red meat and game, so it’s perfect as we come into the Autumn months.

Frank Phélan 2011 Saint-Estephe (Inverarity One to One, £13.49 for the half bottle). Frank Phélan is the second label of Phélan-Segur, and is one of my favourite clarets. This is delicious with a perfectly cooked steak.