What is non-alcoholic wine?

Mar 14, 2023

As a long-time lover of wine, I spent years curating the perfect cellar; a world of wine for every occasion. Now I’ve discovered a different kind of wine experience — the non-alcoholic kind.
Enjoying red wine, white wine and rose wine at the winery

What is non-alcoholic wine?

You might think non-alcoholic wine is just the ingredients that go into a normal drop before it’s fermented and becomes alcoholic — basically, lots of sugar and grapes. This isn’t actually how non-alcoholic wine is made though!

Non-alcoholic wine is any regular variety (red, white, rosé or sparkling) that has had the alcohol removed before it's bottled. It is aged and matured like any type of wine unusually would be, and then goes through a process of de-alcoholisation where the booze is removed, leaving less than 0.5% of ABV (Alcohol By Volume) and to put things into perspective, that’s less than what some fruit juices have.

Are non-alcoholic wines any good?

Sceptical at first, I thought ‘Okay, what does non-alcoholic wine taste like? It’s not going to have the same complexity or taste, it’s just glorified grape juice — right?’ Wrong! It turns out, the best non-alcoholic wines are being made with just as much complexity, subtlety of flavour and passion as anything from a traditional vineyard.

Since exploring what non-alcoholic wine is and sampling some of the best varieties out there, I’ve discovered that quality alcohol-free wine can be just as satisfying as its alcoholic cousin. But on top of being delicious, it brings extra benefits like moderating your alcohol consumption without the FOMO.

Once you go alcohol-free, you won’t want to go back. I can still wash down a bowl of fresh linguine with a crisp, non-alcoholic white wine or pair my favourite Ugg boots with a full-bodied, deep red non-alcoholic red wine while bingeing on Mad Men. Not sure which wine to try? Start with these non-alcoholic wines that taste just like the real thing.

How is non-alcoholic wine made?

The first patent on a de-alcoholisation process came from Carl Jung in Germany and dates back to 1908. They still make glorious non-alc wines today and his special 'Carl Jung Process' is used by lots of other brands.

Overall, there are three main methods to remove alcohol from wine:

  • High vacuum/low-temperature distillation — where wine is gently warmed to a low temperature in an airless vacuum.
  • Spinning cone method — an advanced form of vacuum distillation with rapidly spinning cones added which provide a gentle but speedy result.
  • Reverse osmosis or cold filtration — a more involved process that involves repetitive cycles.

All of these sophisticated de-alcoholisation processes are super gentle, completely natural and they retain the colour, texture, mouthfeel and aroma of the wine from its original form.

What are the best non-alcoholic wines?

My journey into the wonderful world of de-alcoholised wines has introduced me to some truly incredible brands that are creating the best non-alcoholic wines in terms of complexity and taste. Here are my favourites that I think you’ll love.

Next Destination Wines

Featuring the best that Australia’s many wine regions have to offer, Next Destination non-alcoholic red wines, white wines and sparkling varietals make it easy to find the right drop for any occasion.

I love how easy it is to choose a drop based on your preferences, from the King Valley to a McLaren Vale Chardonnay non-alcoholic white wine. Their vegan-friendly range also makes entertaining for anyone with dietary requirements a breeze.

Two Hoots Wines

One of the first things I noticed when I made the switch to non-alcoholic wine was how quickly weight seemed to come off. For years I’d convinced myself it wasn’t the wine, but the chips I ate along with them that were responsible for the extra kilos, but I now know better.

Take the delicious selection from Two Hoots Wines. Their South African Non-Alcoholic Rosé wine clocks in at just 17 calories per 100mL — that’s less than half the calories of alcoholic wine. It also has a delightful, dry profile that I always enjoy after a long day.

1920 Wines

Another beautiful Australian producer which always delights me and my guests is 1920 Wines. Named after the year Prohibition was introduced, there’s no doubt that quality and traditional methods are behind every bottle of non-alcoholic wine 1920 makes.

Their classic Non-Alcoholic Pinot Grigio is a vegan-friendly, low-calorie Aussie favourite that I love for a long lunch. Or, try the alcohol-removed Sauvignon Blanc which has a beautifully balanced feel, thanks to premium grapes harvested in the cool of the night.

Tread Softly

Tread Softly uses a unique ultra-membrane method to preserve the brightness and flavour of their non-alcoholic wine, and I think the proof is in the sipping. Some of the many benefits of cutting back one’s alcohol intake are better sleep and, of course, no hangovers.

A drink made for celebrations without the hangover sounds perfect to me, and their Everything Except Prosecco more than fits the bill. This non-alcoholic sparkling wine is everything I look for in a celebratory drop: fine bubbles, a crisp citrus profile and a vibrant finish.

Plus & Minus

Plus & Minus don’t just craft complex and delicious non-alcoholic wines, they also champion a method using ingredients like grape seed extract to produce a drink that is naturally rich in antioxidants. With those added benefits, it’s no wonder non-alcoholic drinkers report better skin and more energy after making the switch to winemakers like Plus & Minus.

I love their non-alcoholic red wines like Pinot Noir and Shiraz for cosy, wintry evenings and to pair with hearty pasta or stews for a decadent meal.

Where to buy non-alcoholic wine?

Being a wine girl at heart, I always knew Sans Drinks was going to stock a wide range of the best non-alcoholic wines for any occasion. I think I've tried most of them now, but I am always on the lookout for new brands of alcohol-free drink options to add to our cellar!

I hope now that you know a little more about how non-alcoholic wines are made, you’ll be inspired to try some of the delicious bottles out there. If you’ve recently discovered a new favourite, DM or tag me on Instagram @sansdrinks — I’d love to see what you’re enjoying!

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