As the name makes clear, non-alcoholic wines are wines that have been de-alcoholized and therefore contain no alcohol.
For a wine to be labeled as non-alcoholic or alcohol-free, wine needs to contain less than 0.5% alcohol. This is achieved by making a bottle of normal or alcoholic wine, and taking it through a dealcoholization process. Essentially, this means that the alcohol is removed from the beverage. The two most popular methods of doing so are reverse osmosis and vacuum distillation.
So, considering this, being non-alcoholic is not as simple as just buying some grape juice and calling it a day. To find out more about this rather unusual beverage that’s getting trendier all the time, keep reading!
Is Alcohol-Free Wine Alcohol-Free?
The truth is the benchmark for a wine to be seen as alcohol-free or non-alcoholic is to have less than 0.5% alcohol in the content. This is minimal and should not have the adverse effects of alcoholic wines. However, this also means that it does in fact contain a small amount of alcohol and is therefore not truly alcohol-free.
From a legal perspective, wine can only be classified as such if it has at least 8% alcohol, otherwise, it needs to be referred to as a wine-based beverage or drink. Wine-based beverages with less than 1.2% alcohol are classified as low alcohol, beverages with less than 0.5% are de-alcoholized and less than 0.05% are seen as alcohol-free.
How Is Non-Alcoholic Wine Made?
As with any “regular” wine, it all starts with the fermentation process. Now, while many may believe that non-alcoholic wine is just glorified grape juice, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Circling back, the fermentation process that produces alcoholic content is also responsible for the flavours and aromas associated with different types of wines.
So, to embrace this bold flavour profile and aroma, non-alcoholic wines also start off with this process. The trick, however, is finding a way to keep the alcohol count low without compromising on flavour. Additionally, there’s a skill to remove the alcohol created during the fermentation process – once again without impacting the quality of the wine. It is worth noting that the average bottle of wine contains around 13% alcohol.
There are a few methods that winemakers choose to use when it comes to creating non-alcoholic wine, the first being vacuum distillation. This process uses low temperatures to remove alcohol from the wine. This complex process sees a lot of particles removed from the wine.
Reverse osmosis is the affordable option when it comes to dealcoholized wine and uses a cross filtration system to separate the elements of the wine and then blend the different molecules back together.
Once this process has occurred, sugar is added to the wine in an attempt to build on the flavour lost as well as add texture.
What Are The Best Non-Alcoholic Wines?
If you are in the market for a bottle of non-alcoholic wine, there are so many winemakers and brands that have gone above and beyond in their quest for creating the best non-alcoholic wines. In the same way that your normal bottle of wine comes in different blends and varieties, so does their non-alcoholic counterparts.
This means that regardless of whether you’re looking for an alcohol-free wine or the good old faithful version, you’re spoilt for choice. We’ll even share some of our favourites with you to get an idea of what’s available.
Best Non-Alcoholic Red Wines
To get you started on your non-alcoholic wine journey, let’s take a look at two of our favourite red wines – without the buzz of course!
Hill Street Vin Cabernet Sauvignon
For a vibrant non-alcoholic red wine that boasts an impressive flavour profile, Hill Street’s got this one in the bag. Contrary to what many may believe, this bottle is not overly packed with sugar and does not fall flat. Instead, it embraces all the flavours and textures you would expect when enjoying a glass of cabernet.
Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon Dealcoholized
Another great option if you are looking for a full-bodied red wine is this bottle from Ariel. In addition to containing no alcohol, it also has been crafted in the most sustainable way possible. The wine is fermented in oak barrels for a distinct flavour before undergoing a cold filtration process to remove the alcoholic content.
Best Non-Alcoholic White Wines
If red wines are a bit too overwhelming for you, or if you’re simply looking for something a bit lighter – keep reading.
Luminara Non-Alcoholic Chardonnay 2018
The deliciously fruity, slightly creamy chardonnay is made using both French and American oak barrels to deliver only the best flavour experience for the drinker – alcohol-free of course.
Noughty Alcohol-Free Sparkling Chardonnay
While everyone loves a glass of wine, there’s no denying the appeal of delicious bubbly. Whether it’s for a celebration or simply mimosas with breakfast, the folks at Noughty have truly nailed it when it comes to alcohol-free wines with a sparkle.
Best Non-Alcoholic Rosé
If you’re on the fence about non-alcoholic wines but would like to give them a try, rosés are a great way to test the waters.
Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower and Rosé Lemonade
This sparkling beverage is a bit different in that it is more of a wine refresher. It has a delicate elderflower flavour that’s perfectly rounded off with a delicate rosé base.
Pierre Zēro Rosé
For a more traditional glass of non-alcoholic wine, this bottle is sure to do the trick. This French wine showcases the berry flavours and stone fruit undertones to deliver a brilliant rosé finish.
How Healthy Is Non-Alcoholic Wine?
When it comes to normal wines, there are so many health benefits associated with them when consumed in moderation. The same can be said about non-alcoholic wines. In fact, research has found that consuming non-alcoholic red wine can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by around 14%.
Is It Okay To Drink Alcohol-Free Wine During Pregnancy?
This is a hot topic of debate. Many health professionals have stated that no amount of alcohol should be consumed during pregnancy. This means that even the low-alcohol versions available are off-limits.
On the other side of this debate, is the fact that these dealcoholized wines do not contain enough alcohol for it to negatively impact your pregnancy. If you are pregnant and would like to try a non-alcoholic wine, we recommend speaking to your doctor first.
Is Non-Alcoholic Wine Full Of Sugar?
Non-alcoholic wines do not contain more sugar than their alcoholic versions. However, the way in which they are made can cause the sugar content to be a lot higher. Some brands have found a way to work around this and developed low sugar options as well.
Vibrant Flavor Without The Buzz
Non-alcoholic wines have come a long way in the last few years. So much so that if you didn’t know any better, you probably wouldn’t taste the difference between the two. If you are looking for a guilt-free glass of wine, why not give non-alcoholic wines a try?