Maybe you’ve got a baby on the way, you’re the designated driver, you’re participating in Dry January, or you’re simply trying to drink less. No matter the reason, choosing to not drink alcohol doesn’t mean you have to give up wine! Non-alcoholic wine may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes it’s exactly what you need.
You can still enjoy wine minus the alcohol by drinking non-alcoholic wine. While a non-alcoholic wine has the same or similar flavor and mouthfeel as alcoholic wine, it has gone through an additional process of having the alcoholic content removed.
The rest of this article details what non-alcoholic wine is, how it’s made, the benefits, the best non-alcoholic wines on the market right now, and where to buy it. So if you’re looking to enjoy a glass of wine with friends, but you don’t want the alcoholic content that usually accompanies this, keep reading!
How Is Non-Alcoholic Wine Made?
Non-alcoholic or dealcoholized wine differs from grape juice because it’s fermented. Additionally, good non-alcoholic wines still have the complexities of taste and aroma that traditional wines have even without the alcohol content.
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Non-alcoholic wine is made first with fully fermented wine. It then goes through the alcohol-removing process using either reverse osmosis, vacuum distillation, or spinning cone columns.
Reverse osmosis requires the winemaker to nanofilter the wine in order to separate the alcohol from the other components. After this, the alcohol is removed through distillation. This is the most cost-effective way to make high-quality and delicious non-alcoholic wine, and therefore the most popular method.
Another way to make non-alcoholic wine is to transfer the starter wine into a distillation vacuum, which heats the wine to the point that the alcohol evaporates. This process is quick and cheap, but it always produces the best results.
Winemakers can also pass the wine through a column with a series of fixed and spinning cones and nitrogen gas that enable the separation of the wine’s properties. Then, the wine circuits through the spinning cones again until the alcohol is separated.
What Does Non-Alcoholic Wine Taste Like?
The taste of non-alcoholic wine depends on its variety and the company that makes it, as each wine has its own unique flavor profile. Most non-alcoholic wines taste similar to traditional wine but not exactly the same.
Some wines taste like fruity juice, whereas others taste reminiscent of oak barrels. Many winemakers work hard to make their non-alcoholic wines have the same qualities and taste that wine lovers seek, even by adding botanicals or other ingredients.
If you’re looking for the most wine-like taste, your best bet is going with sparkling wine or a rose. It’s easier to capture the taste and mouthfeel of these varieties than to capture the essence of white or red wine.
Health Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Wine
There are plenty of benefits to not drinking alcohol. Here are just a few you’ll enjoy:
- Dealcoholized red wine retains the health benefits of small red wine quantities. Red wine is rich in antioxidants, lowers cholesterol, decreases blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, increases plasma nitric oxide, and aids the digestive system. Non-alcoholic red wine also has all these benefits, just without the alcohol!
- Non-alcoholic wine is lower in calories than wine. If you’re trying to slim down, alcohol isn’t your friend because alcoholic drinks are usually high-calorie, and wine is no exception. Generally, non-alcoholic wine has three times fewer calories than regular wine.
- Non-alcoholic wines have fewer sulfites. Sulfites are a food preservative used in winemaking. Some people are sensitive to them, and in these people, sulfites can cause nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. Additionally, they can aggravate asthma.
- Non-alcoholic wine doesn’t have the acidity that alcohol has and doesn’t prevent you from absorbing vitamins and minerals. Chronic alcohol drinkers show evidence of malnutrition, and their bodies lack proteins and vitamins that are essential for health. Furthermore, the acidity in alcohol is bad for your gut health.
- You won’t get dehydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic and inhibits the kidneys’ vasopressin production, making you dehydrated. Drinking non-alcoholic wine will help you avoid the physical effects of dehydration, including headaches and dull skin.
- Your mood will be more consistent and generally better. Alcohol may temporarily boost your mood, but it’s ultimately a depressant. Over time, overconsumption of alcohol causes feelings of depression and anxiety. Non-alcoholic wine helps you avoid this.
Best Non-Alcoholic Wines
For non-alcoholic red wine, I like the (available on Amazon.com) because it has flavors of cherries, milk chocolate, and blackberries. There’s still enough tannins and acid present, even with no alcohol, for the wine to have a dry finish.
My favorite non-alcoholic champagne is (available on Amazon.com). The flavors are reserved and complex, and I can taste hints of lemon, peach, and custard. You can add your favorite juice to make a mimosa if you’d like.
If you think rose is best, you should try (available from Amazon.com). I like the hints of strawberries, blackberries, and cherries, and it pairs perfectly with seafood. It’s also vegan, so that’s a bonus!
If you’re a white wine lover, try (available on Amazon.com). The flavor of white wine is the hardest to capture in non-alcoholic varieties, but this St. Regis wine is refreshing and light. I like the fruity notes of apricot and pear.
Where To Buy Non-Alcoholic Wine
If you’re now eager to try non-alcoholic wine, I don’t blame you! Lucky for you, there are multiple options when it comes to purchasing NA wine.
Non-alcoholic wine isn’t bound to the same buying or shipping restrictions as traditional wine, so it’s easy to buy online, including the following places:
- Amazon: There are a lot of non-alcoholic wines available on Amazon, including many of my favorites (see previous section).
- Direct from the brand: Many non-alcoholic wines on the market operate their own sales through their website. You’ll likely get great customer service from the brand because they have control over the sale from beginning to end. Additionally, you’ll know that all of your money is going directly to the company.
- Better Rhodes: This is an online store dedicated to the sale of non-alcoholic beer, spirits, cocktails, and wine. They curate a collection of delicious non-alcoholic drinks and offer free shipping on non-alcoholic subscription boxes.
If you prefer to buy in-person, here are some places you can try:
- Total Wine & More: This chain has over 200 stores and is one of the best liquor chains to find non-alcoholic wine. The owners are supporters of the alcohol-free space, so they stock a large variety of non-alcoholic wine.
- Binny’s: If you live in the Midwest, you probably have a Binny’s near you. They’re working on expanding their selection of non-alcoholic beverages, so make sure you go in and check out what they have!
- Your local liquor store: Not all liquor stores have non-alcoholic wine in stock, but many do, and there’s no way of knowing unless you ask!
Choosing not to drink alcohol doesn’t mean that you have to give up wine. You can still enjoy wine by reaching for a non-alcoholic bottle. This way, you can still have the taste, mouthfeel, and social benefits of drinking wine without the alcoholic content. You mayeven enjoy some notable health benefits!