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What Is Non-Alcoholic Wine?

Skeptic at first, I thought – sure, but it’s not going to have the same complexity or taste, it’s just grape juice – right? Wrong.
Rose, White and Red Wine in wine glasses

As a long time lover of wine, I spent years curating the perfect cellar; a world of wine for every occasion. Now, with abundant racks of reputed plonk, I’ve discovered a different kind of wine experience: the non-alcoholic kind.

Sceptic at first, I thought – sure, but it’s not going to have the same complexity or taste, it’s just fake wine – right? Wrong. Quality, alcohol-free wine can be just as satisfying as its alcoholic cousin. But on top of being pleasurably palatable, 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, white alcohol-free wine or pair my favourite ugg boots with a full-bodied, deep red de-alcoholised wine while binging on Mad Men. Winning. Not sure which wine to try? Start with our 5 best non-alcoholic wine to drink this year.


Friends tasting non-alcoholic red wine

What does non-alcoholic wine mean?

Non-alcoholic wine is regular wine (red, white, sparkling etc) that's had the alcohol removed before it's bottled. This can be any type of wine from fancy Champagne to a cheerful Chardy, which has gone through a process of de-alcoholisation where the alcohol is removed leaving less than 0.5% of ABV (Alcohol By Volume) which is actually actually less than some fruit juices. Side note: Wine containing between 0.5% - 1.15% ABV is referred to as low alcohol.

These sophisticated de-alcoholisation processes are super gentle and completely natural and yep, they retain the colour, texture, mouthfeel and aroma of the wine from its original form. So still enjoyable!  

In additional to de-alcoholised wines, I must also give an honourable mention to a few wine-style drinks like Fizzero and the Altina Zer Proof La Vie En Rose which have been created without any alcohol from the start, instead, these use green tea, fruits and other botanicals. 

How is wine de-alcoholised? 

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.  But overall there are 3 main ways to remove alcohol from wine, they are Vacuum distillation where the wine is gently warmed to a low temperature in an airless vacuum, the Spinning Cone method, which is an advanced form of vacuum distillation with rapidly spinning cones added which provide a gentle but speedy result, or Reverse Osmosis (also called cold filtration) which is a more fancy process that involves repetitive cycles.


Wine De-alcolisation Process Explained

The ARIEL wines reverse osmosis allows alcohol to be removed while retaining many of the qualities found in traditional wine

The Health Benefits of Alcohol-Free Wine

Lets talk calories because for me weight is the first thing I noticed float away when I reduced stopped drinking alcohol. For so many years I convinced myself it wasn't the wine putting on the weight, but the chips I ate with it, but from my research, I have found that non-alcohol wine contains a third to half the calories of regular wine (I note this on the product description for you). But it gets even better when you switch to a non-alcoholic spirit like Seedlip which contains no calories (just be careful what you add to it).

Seedlip range

I also checked with the Dry July Foundation on the health benefits of reducing one's alcohol intake and they say their participants report having a "clearer head, healthier skin, better sleep, more energy and productivity, weight loss and of course, no hangovers" 

I think we're onto something, a recent study by La Trobe University tells us 30 per cent of Australians recently reduced their alcohol consumption, 29 per cent reduced the frequency of their drinking and six per cent decided to stop altogether!

Collectively and personally, there are loads of health-driven reasons we’re drawn to reduce our alcohol consumption. But how about all those important times in life where we just need an alcohol-free alternative – like when you're the designated driver, pregnant or just have to be early-morning fresh for a meeting. These are some of the best times to enjoy the taste and social ritual of a glass of vino, minus the alcohol. 

Friends drinking chilled Rose Wine with lunch

Home of the classy non-alcoholic glassy

Being a wine girl at heart, I think I've tried most of them now, but always on the lookout for new brands of non and low-alcohol drink options: from NA craft beers to alternative spirits san the %. This is the place to share your experiences, discoveries and recommendations for the best non-alcoholic drinks you want to rave about. 

I welcome your thoughts, suggestions and comments here, DM me on Insta @sansdrinksau or share your favourite drink using the hashtag #sansdrinks

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