As a hotel or restaurant staff you should know about all beverage items. Honestly speaking many experienced hotelier or restaurateur are not familiar with non-alcoholic wine. If you have heard about it for the first time you may wonder what exactly is alcohol-free wine? In this ultimate guide, we will try to answer every questions that you’re looking for.
Topics Covered in this Guide
- 1 What is a non-alcoholic wine?
- 2 Production Of Non-Alcoholic Wines
- 3 How Non-Alcoholic Wine is Made
- 4 Do Non-Alcoholic Wines Retain the Taste as Their Alcoholic Versions?
- 5 Types Of Non-Alcoholic Wines
- 6 Health Benefits Associated with Non-Alcoholic Wines
- 7 Popular Brands of Non-Alcoholic Wines
- 8 Where to Buy Non-Alcoholic Wines
What is a non-alcoholic wine?
Theoretically, non-alcoholic wines or alcohol-free wines, beverages, or drinks are versions of their regular alcoholic counterparts whose contents come without traces of alcohol.
A non-alcoholic wine refers to a wine whose alcohol content has been removed. Non-alcoholic wine may sound counterintuitive as most folks simply dismiss it as unfermented grape juice. However, non-alcoholic wines (also referred to as dealcoholized wine) are wine that has been fermented with regular yeast, has undergone the process of vinification, before undergoing an additional process of removing its alcohol content. The wines, therefore, retain their flavor, the booze, and bubbly but the alcoholic content is done away with.
Today, more consumers and special groups (such as pregnant women and overweight folks) are paying more attention to their alcohol intake. That, coupled with the need for a great alternative to alcoholic drinks, has thrust non-alcoholic wines into the mainstream wine markets worldwide. And whether it is for religious purposes, you are expecting a baby, want to lose weight or you simply want a swift recovery from a hectic day, there are a plethora of reasons why people go non-alcoholic.
And don’t let the “non-alcoholic” label fool you. These wines are produced to match the regular ones in a way that doesn’t sacrifice taste, flavor, booze, and bubbly. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look into the production of non-alcoholic wines, popular brands, their entrance into the market worldwide, the health benefits they have to offer, and whether or not they can match their opposite number (alcoholic counterparts).
Production Of Non-Alcoholic Wines
How Are Non-Alcoholic Wines Obtained?
So, you have probably overheard a friend heap praise on a particular non-alcoholic wine and you have decided to take a shot at it. And it doesn’t matter the occasion. Maybe you are generally restricting yourself from alcohol intake and simply want to stick with non-alcoholic drinks such as water, lemonades, or other cocktails.
Whatever your situation may be, you could use one of the latest (and perhaps the biggest) revolutions in the wine and beverage industry: the invention of non-alcoholic drinks, and wine in particular.
But before you get down to snagging one bottle of alcohol-free wine down the liquor store, have you wondered how these wines are produced? Well, read on to find out.
Federal Regulatory Guidelines in The United States
Non-alcoholic wines have made a grand entrance in the market and today, you will come across numerous wine bottles labeled “Non-alcoholic wine.” However, a mammoth percentage of these wines still have traces of alcohol in them and aren’t 100% alcohol-free yet.
That’s so because the process of making non-alcoholic wines involves distillation or filtration of regular wine which, in itself, contains a certain percentage of alcohol. And depending on the wine type, winemaker and the method of separation used, the content of alcohol in a bottle may vary.
In the United States, for instance, federal law requires that all wines packaged and sold as dealcoholized or alcohol-free must have a 0.5% alcohol content or less. In that case, any bottle with more than 0.5% in alcohol content is therefore not marked as non-alcoholic wine.
Therefore, if you want to be sure that the wine you purchase has zero traces of alcohol, check out the winery’s website for information. That’s because most winemakers publish such info on company websites, which can be resourceful if you are looking for a non-alcoholic wine bottle with zero traces of alcohol.
How Non-Alcoholic Wine is Made
There are certain pieces of equipment and handy recipes that you can mix from the comfort of your home to come up with non-alcoholic wines. However, the process requires a little technical know-how. Starting with grapes, you could mix up Welch’s grape concentrate and have yourself a homemade non-alcoholic wine. But what of the industry or commercial level?
Commercial Preparation of Non-Alcoholic Wine
Unlike the homemade wines (which are syrupy sweet), the non-alcoholic wines retailed at the liquor store are different. That is, commercial manufacturers remove all the sugars to pave way for the tannins to make up the main character of the juice.
And just like the regular alcoholic wines, sugars are removed via fermentation, which converts them to alcohol. This means that commercial producers start with the regular alcoholic wines and pass it through other processes to extract alcohol, which makes up the hard part.
Anyone could ferment grape juice and create regular wine. But removing the alcohol content to produce non-alcoholic wine is a hard nut to crack. Getting rid of alcohol from wine is easier said than done. And there are two ways commercial producers go about in extracting alcohol from wine – which are both impractical and economically unviable for the home winemaker – namely; Distillation and Filtration.
The first way commercial producers extract alcohol from wine is via the process of filtration. This involves special equipment in which wine is passed through special membranes under controlled pressure to remove the alcohol.
High-pressure conditions are preferred to ensure minimal amounts of alcohol pass through the membrane alongside the wine. The process is done repeatedly to ensure as much as 99.5% alcohol is removed from wine, leaving behind alcohol-free concentrate. Water is then added to the filtrate to dilute its concentration, thereby obtaining non-alcoholic wine.
The second way commercial producers eliminate alcohol is to distill it off the wine. And while this might sound easy to the home winemaker, there is more to it than simply applying heat to the wine that makes it unfeasible at home.
Heating wine makes it useless, and commercial producers have mastered the art of distillation that doesn’t diminish the quality of the wine but at the same time eliminates alcohol. Through distillation, special equipment is used to heat the wine in a strong vacuum such that as the vacuum increases, the boiling point of alcohol decreases.
As such, the lower pressure conditions will allow faster evaporation of all alcoholic content. The resulting distillate comprises non-alcoholic wine, with its original taste and color. And depending on the winery, water or additional grape juice may be added to the distillate to balance out the volume or reconstitute the wine, respectively.
Do Non-Alcoholic Wines Retain the Taste as Their Alcoholic Versions?
So, you may be wondering, what do non-alcoholic wines taste like? Does it retain the flavor of its alcoholic counterpart? Well, the answer is, yes, the tannins, texture, and flavor of the original wine are retained. The only component these wines miss is the alcohol content.
However, many wine bottles you see out there lack the complexity in taste, flavor, and texture that defines their alcoholic versions. That’s so because the extraction of alcohol from wine doesn’t come without consequences. First, alcohol in wine carries the full-bodied flavors and aroma, and secondly, alcohol gives it the thickness, effervescence, and bubbly feeling that makes alcoholic versions mouthful.
However, that shouldn’t be a cause for major concern because anyone opting for non-alcoholic is often looking to make lifestyle changes, rather than relating to the differences between the two (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
Types Of Non-Alcoholic Wines
Red Non-Alcoholic Wine
Red non-alcoholic wines are perhaps the best-dealcoholized wines out there. The Cabernet Sauvignon (from Ariel), for instance, doesn’t taste 100% like the normal red wine, but its texture and flavor are quite close to its alcoholic counterpart.
White Non-Alcoholic Wine
Considered great companions for dinner, white non-alcoholic wines are less sweet and are more tart on the palate, but the difference between them and their alcoholic counterparts is insignificant. So, you will probably enjoy it without feeling shortchanged.
Sparkling Non-Alcoholic Wine
The basic concepts when shifting to non-alcoholic wines are to make lifestyle changes or go non-alcoholic altogether. The sparkling wines (such as the Brut from FRE) aren’t exact replacements for their alcoholic versions but you will be glad to know that you will enjoy the good things these wines will bring to your life.
Health Benefits Associated with Non-Alcoholic Wines
Are non-alcoholic wines safe? And what benefits and advantages do they have? The invention of non-alcoholic wines, and all non-alcoholic drinks indeed, has been received warmly by nutrition experts and wellness experts alike. Non-alcoholic wines have emerged as drinker-friendly options for many folks as they have been proven to:
- Decrease the risk of heart disease.
- Reduce, alcohol, fat, and sugar intake.
- Do away with symptoms of dehydration.
- Reduce cholesterol levels.
- Be excellent for pregnant women and overweight folks.
Among others, the following are in-depth health benefits associated with intake of non-alcoholic wines:
Lowers Cholesterol and Risks of Heart Disease
Studies, notably from the San Diego School of Medicine, showed a reduced risk of heart disease in folks hooked on dealcoholized wines. Moreover, the study indicated a reduced risk of stroke. And this has strengthened the notion that having a glass of wine considerably minimizes the chances of suffering a stroke. However, the same benefits weren’t noted in folks using liquors or beer.
Contributes to Low Caloric Intake
Non-alcoholic wines are excellent alternatives for folks paying close attention to their body weight. And this is where calories come in. When you extract alcohol from wine say, via distillation, the resulting distillate will have one-third fewer calories, which is ideal for overweight folks.
Furthermore, non-alcoholic wines have fewer sugars, fats, and preservatives, which translates into low caloric content, which studies have shown are excellent choices for those watching their weight or are cautious about what they drink.
Decreases the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Non-alcoholic wines reduce the risk of heart attack by 20% and lower blood pressure. That’s because non-alcoholic wines contain 14% more polyphenols (antioxidants that reduce the risk of blood pressure) than their alcoholic versions.
Excellent Choice for Pregnant Women
Pregnancies come to bring a handful of challenges. But the priority is to welcome your new ones in absolute safety, health, and overall well-being. However, ceremonies and parties come between you and the birth of your child and it may sometimes you may feel that it is less fun going through an event without bubbles.
If you find yourself in such a situation, the best choice is non-alcoholic wines. They are healthy, safe for the unborn, capable of satisfying wine cravings and will have you enjoy your sophisticated lifestyle while pregnant.
Popular Brands of Non-Alcoholic Wines
Except for the fact that their alcohol content has been removed, these white, red and sparkling non-alcoholic wines are popular toasts for folks at parties, no matter who is in the room.
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling White Wine
Produced in Germany, this zesty, alcohol-free wine is a favorite among industry pros. The wine oozes with a variety of flavors that include lime, citrus, and green apples. Ideal for outdoor sips, it is available in cans and light to medium-bodied bottles.
St. Regis Nonalcoholic Chardonnay
A favorite in the U.S, this crowd-pleaser is produced in California. The drink comprises a mouthful heavy wine, with yellow apple flavor, and is perfect for seafood or paster dinner.
Non-Alcoholic Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon
This California-based winery ages this bubbly in oak barrels in Paso, and the resulting wine has a deep berry flavor, albeit non-alcoholic. Available in your local liquor store, this is a fine, dry and soft drink with tannins comprising its berry juice character.
Chateau Diana Zero-Alcohol Red Wine
This is a full-bodied red non-alcoholic wine with a variety of flavors that include tangerine, cranberries, and raspberries.
Martinelli’s Sparkling Blush Non-Alcoholic
This fruity flavored wine hints at yellow apples and raspberry and it is an excellent choice to please the crowd and ignite a holiday mood.
Where to Buy Non-Alcoholic Wines
Looking for non-alcoholic wines? Well, you can find them shelved in virtually any liquor or wine store in your neighborhood. But Target, Costco, and Walmart are great at stocking huge ranges of non-alcoholic wines. So be sure to check out.
The Bottom Line
Whether it is red, white, or sparkling versions, non-alcoholic wines are wines whose alcohol content has been removed by wineries via the commercial industrial processes of distillation or filtration. Non-alcoholic wines have made a grand entrance to the market worldwide because of their significant health benefits and their suitability for special groups of people such as pregnant women and folks monitoring their body weight with caloric intake.