You might say that non-alcoholic wines sound counterintuitive, but they exist and evolve for excellent reasons. Many people think that non-alcoholic wine is just grape juice, but it’s not the case.
Scroll down, and let’s deep dive into the truth about non-alcoholic wines below.
What are non-alcoholic wines?
Non-alcoholic wines are also known as de-alcoholized or alcohol-removed wines. Some people understand and call these types alcohol-free wines. But, this type of wine is produced from fermented wine, which is regular wine.
The only difference is that they undergo a vinification process. So technically, these wines are not alcohol-free, but many contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Ariel was the first brand that sold the first non-alcoholic wine in the 1980s. However, it was not an immediate hit, even if it gained popularity back then. Non-alcoholic wine had varying degrees of success afterwards.
Wines that are “Better For You”
While there is no legal or specific agreed-upon definition of wines included in this category. Wines that are called better for you are generally lower in the following content:
In addition, wine companies that produce and market these wines stress their sustainability and are transparent in the labelling of the ingredients.
For example, wine producers can label and market their wine products as sustainably grown with no added sugar, fewer calories and less than 10 per cent alcohol.
Although serious wine drinkers may find non-alcoholic wine harsh to swallow, there is an increasing interest in these “better for you” wine options.
Health benefits of non-alcoholic wine
There are several health benefits of non-alcoholic wine. They even have the same health benefits as alcoholic wine. Still, the main difference is that non-alcoholic wine offers the same benefits without the risks associated with consuming regular alcohol. Let’s take at each one of the benefits below:
First, non-alcoholic wines also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because, like regular wines, they also contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are an antioxidant that helps lower blood pressure and inflammation.
Numerous studies have shown the link between antioxidants and the reduction of risk of cardiovascular diseases, and grape skins contain the highest concentration of polyphenols compared to other fruits.
Red wine contains more polyphenols since winemakers include the skins, stems and seeds when it ferments. Thus, red wine contains more polyphenols than white wine.
Second, non-alcoholic wines contain fewer calories. Regular wine has about 24 calories per ounce. On the other hand, non-alcoholic wine contains around 1.7 calories per ounce, making them an excellent option for those who want to watch their weight without giving up the same flavour, taste, and fun of regular wine.
Lastly, they are less intoxicating. Since they only contain a fraction of a percentage of alcohol, it’s nearly impossible to get intoxicated when drinking non-alcoholic wine.
How to remove alcohol from wine
There are three ways or steps that you can take to remove alcohol from wine. Let’s take a look at each step below:
First is vacuum distillation. This process uses heat to evaporate the alcohol from the wine. The required increase in the temperature is usually about 176°F, which is the boiling point of ethanol. Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is present in wines.
Unfortunately, this high-temperature method can change the flavour and aroma of the wine due to oxidation. Thus, the final product’s quality, taste, and flavour will be significantly affected.
To combat this, winemakers use a closed and airtight space to reduce the boiling temperature of ethanol which will be around 75 to 85°F. At these temperatures, the alcohol evaporates, but the flavours and aromas will stay intact.
Usually, there are two passes during the distillation method. The first pass will separate the volatile compounds in the wine through evaporation. These volatile compounds give the wine its aroma and are collected during the first pass to be blended back during the second pass to save the scent.
The second pass removes the alcohol, and the aromatic compounds saved during the first pass are blended back into the dealcoholized wine.
However, even if the aroma has been blended back into the dealcoholized wine, a lack of aromatics is still notable.
The second is spinning-cone technology. This process is more refined than the vacuum distillation method because it does not use high temperatures. During this process, multiple rounds of low-temperature evaporation take place.
Wine is placed inside inverted cones in a centrifuge, and when these cones rotate, the centrifugal force creates a particularly thin film of wine that wine producers extract. Afterwards, winemakers introduce nitrogen gas into the cones to remove the aromas and other wine components, leaving water and alcohol in the cones.
To properly separate water from the alcohol, the winemaker spins the cones at a higher temperature since only water and alcohol are left. Once the alcohol is removed, the aroma compounds are reintroduced.
Reverse Osmosis or Filtration Method
The third is reverse osmosis. This process filters wine at a molecular level separating wine components based on their molecular size. After alcohol is filtered and discarded, the aromatics and flavour compounds are retained. The amount of water equal to the amount of alcohol that the process removed is now blended back into the dealcoholized wine.
Molecular filtration doesn’t need to increase the wine’s temperature, which allows the wine to retain a more wine-like structure.
Many wine producers try to restore aromatic compounds to non-alcoholic wine but since alcohol often makes the aromas volatile, having no alcohol means it’s more difficult for the aromas to reach your nose.
In addition, dealcoholization can also remove tannins, and it’s one of the components that give the wine a lot of its structure aside from alcohol.
How can you grab one now?
You might be thinking if it’s possible to grab non alcoholic wine near me quickly, and the answer to that question is Yes. Nowadays, there are a lot of dry drinks and mixology shops online that offer a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options that online shops can deliver to your doorstep.
Some wine recommendations
If you are starting your non-alcoholic wine journey, there are various options for you, but only a few stand out from the rest. Brands such as Ariel, Giesen, Leitz, and Freixenet are popular for a good reason. Here are some that you may want to try on a Monday night:
- Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling
- Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon
- Freixenet Alcohol-Removed Sparkling Wine
- Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 0% Alcohol
- Ariel Chardonnay