So you’ve overheard one of your friends praising some non alcoholic wine and decided to give it a try?
Maybe you have some restrictions against the alcohol in general and stick to drinking water, lemonades and various juices and mock tails…
Whatever the case may be, let us tell you one thing: last biggest revolution in the beverage and wine industry came with the invention of non-alcoholic drinks and non alcoholic wines in particular!
We love free wines and decided to put together the best non alcoholic wines review out there! This was not an easy task to accomplish, however, after weeks of research and testing a lot of bottles out, we are bringing you this article so let’s get into it…
WHAT DOES NONALCOHOLIC OR FREE WINE MEAN?
Non-alcoholic drinks are versions of their alcoholic counterparts without any trace of alcohol. It might be worth noting that although there’s many wine bottles out there that reads “non-alcoholic wine”, many of them may still contain some traces of alcohol and not being 100 percent alcohol free.
That’s because the process of making a non-alcohol wine starts with normal wine that naturally has some percentage of alcohol in it. Depending on the winemaker, winery and the method of separation, each bottle may contain more or less alcohol content.
The federal law in the United States states that for any wine to be marked, packaged and sold as alcohol free or dealcoholized, the alcohol content be more than 0.5% by volume… anything that has more than 0.5% of alcohol in it is therefore not non-alcoholic wine.
If, for some reason, you want to be absolutely sure that your bottle does not have any trace of alcohol in it at all, it’s best to do a quick research on the internet and look up the company website.
HOW IS NON ALCOHOLIC FREE WINE MADE?
Removing alcohol from wine is not an easy process. In comparison, it’s much easier to make wine out of a normal juice at home… Separating alcohol from wine requires special equipment and technical know how. The alcohol removal process could be divided into two main parts – filtration and distillation.
A) Filtration Process
One of the ways commercial wine makers make alcohol-free wines is through a process called filtration. Using special equipment, the wine is made to pass through a membrane under an extremely high pressure.
High pressure ensures that only water and very little amount of alcohol can pass through the membrane. Filtration process is repeated again and again until we end up with wine without alcohol. At the end, water is added to the final filtrate to dilute its concentration to a non-alcoholic wine levels.
B) Distillation Process
Another popular method is to distill alcohol from the wine through a process called distillation. Distillation is simple – just steam away the wine, right? Any home winemaker can do this to make his own alcohol-free drinks right? Well, not really… When you start heating wine, it soon becomes brown and caramelizes to an extent that it becomes useless and this is exactly where technical know how and inside knowledge of wine making comes into play.
Commercial winemakers have mastered the distillation art. They keep the wine in a strong vacuum and increase the vacuum levels gradually. As the vacuum increases, the steaming point (also called the boiling point) of alcohol decreases. Under such low pressure, it has a lower boiling point than water and as all alcohol content evaporates, we end up with non-alcoholic wine, which retains its original color and taste.
It’s worth mentioning that while some wineries prefer to add water to the final concentrated wine after removing alcohol (to balance the volume out), others use grape juice to reconstitute the wine.
WHAT DOES NON ALCOHOLIC WINE TASTE LIKE?
We know what you are wondering now… Are you thinking that you can buy a fruit concentrate from your local Walmart or Target and add water to it and that will pretty much be alcohol-free wine?
No – that is not correct and this is where non-alcohol wines are different from fruit concentrates you buy from supermarkets. Fruit concentrates are syrupy sweet – alcohol-free wines are not. Such wines only miss the alcohol part, not the taste part! You can still enjoy the tannins and the texture of the original wine.
Having said that, it may not hold true for all types of alcohol-free wines that you can find out there and a lot of them miss the complexity and flavor that their alcoholic versions truly stand for. This is especially true for red wines as the alcohol-free red wine resembles the alcoholic version in taste but lacks the full-bodied flavor and texture of the wine.
This happens because it is mostly the alcohol part in the wine that renders all the aromas together in the wine and gives it the thickness and the mouth feel that a typical red wine stands for and that is the reason it ends up in a different class of flavor and texture.
On the other hand, as many rightly say, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. When you drink alcohol-free wines, you are not looking for differences between them and their counter parts, but you are making a life change to switch to non-alcohol drinking. So even though many dealcoholized drinks do not taste the same as many red or white wines do, they can still be enjoyed for their health benefits and for the smart lifestyle changes they offer.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF NON ALCOHOLIC RED AND WHITE WINES
A) Less calorific content, antioxidants
Let us start with calories first. When you remove alcohol from the wine, you end up reducing its calorific level by approximately one-third, which is nice. It’s also true that the most non-alcoholic red and white wines are not only free of alcohol, but also contain less fat, are much lower in sugars and have no added preservatives, which makes their calorific content even lower.
Numerous studies have proven that dealcoholized wines provide an interesting alternative to juices and concentrates that are much higher in dyes, artificial flavors and sugars. Alcohol-free wines can be a great choice of drink for people who are watching their weight carefully and are cautious about what they eat and drink…
Also, it’s been confirmed by many studies that taking the same amounts of dealcoholized red wine leaves you with the same amount of antioxidants that you get from an equal glass or normal red wine. So in case you suffer from high blood pressure and like taking a glass or two occasionally, alcohol-free red wine is your best alternative.
B) Lowers cholesterol and the risk of heart disease
Various different studies revealed that alcohol-free red wine decreases the risk of heart diseases. Studies done at the University of California and the San Diego School of Medicine revealed that heart diseases have decreased in people drinking dealcoholized wines. They also state that your cholesterol levels and chances of having a stroke were reduced quite considerably.
Particularly in red wines and their alcohol-free versions, scientists have identified a glucose-based plant compound called saponins that are connecting to lowering cholesterol in humans. Some studies strengthen the belief that drinking one glass of red or white wine or their free-of-alcohol counterparts can help to lower the chances of suffering a stroke. It might be worth to note that the same is not true for liquor drinks or beer.
Always remember that just because your wine is without the alcohol, you should be drinking it with moderation, ideally not more than one or two 4-ounce glasses pear day…
C) No dehydration
When you remove the alcohol, it also removes dehydrating symptoms and other effects that slow down body metabolism. It’s an easy way to avoid hangovers, tipsiness and headaches. Apart from that, it reduces another life risks that can happen under the influence of alcohol.
IS IT SAFE TO DRINK NON ALCOHOLIC WINE DURING PREGNANCY?
If you go by technicalities because it is removed of any alcohol, you should be fine. However, as with all things related to diet and lifestyle when you are in pregnancy, it is still advisable that you check with you midwife and GP to ensure that there’s no risk associated with taking a few sips here and there.
WHERE CAN I BUY NON ALCOHOLIC FREE WINE?
You can buy wines without alcohol from pretty much any super store that sells wines and liquors. They have some great prices in Walmart, Target and Costco. They are stocking huge ranges of non-alcohol wines in stores that are huge and have a separate liquor land space in it.
If you can drive, you can simply visit some wineries or vineyards that make alcohol-free wines. You can also go to their wine-tasting sessions, usually happening on the weekend. It’s a great way to taste a different varieties of red, white and sparkling dealcoholized wines, get a great advice from experienced connoisseurs and choose the ones that you like the most.
Out of all wine makers, LA-based ARIEL wines have been dominating the market for years and they make some of the best non-alcoholic wines in the world. They have also been world renowned and have many awards added to their hat for producing the best alcohol-free chardonnays and cabernet sauvignon in the world.
Here’s the list of some of the best red, white and sparkling non-alcoholic wines that you should definitely try you be most likely left with wanting even more.
Sauvignon non-alcoholic red wine: perhaps one of the best dealcoholized red wines in the market available today. It does not quite taste like the normal red wine but it is still very close to the original and as close as a non-alcoholic red wine can get to its alcoholic counterpart.
non-alcoholic white wine: again one of the best white wines out there in the market. It is much less sweeter than many other alcohol-free white wines available in the supermarkets and will leave you with a taste on your palate that is very close to white wine, so you will not think about missing anything.
non-alcoholic wine: this is one of the best alternatives to sparkling white wines and is also priced well so does not come heavy on the pocket.
zinfandel non-alcoholic wine: this alcohol-free wine is less sweet and a little more tart on the palate than many others available in the market. It does taste best when you pair it with white sauce pasta and makes a great companion to dinner.
At the end of the day, when you choose to drink a non-alcohol wine, it is about enjoying it with an open mind. If you do not expect an exact replacement to your alcoholic wines, you will find yourself talking endlessly about these non-alcoholic versions and the good things they bring to your life.