Updated June 2022
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Buying guide for Best non-alcoholic wines

Having a glass of wine with a delicious meal or at the end of a long day is a pleasure for many people. However, if you abstain from alcohol, you may feel like you’re missing out. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of non-alcoholic wines to let you enjoy the wonderful flavor of wine without the alcohol.

Non-alcoholic wine actually starts as traditional wine, but the alcohol is removed after fermentation, which is why it’s able to taste so similar to regular wine. It pairs well with food, meaning you can serve it at dinner parties without worrying about ruining the meal. 

The best thing about non-alcoholic wine is that it’s an excellent option for people who can’t drink alcohol for health reasons or those who simply don’t enjoy the headache that comes from indulging in their favorite adult beverage. Even if you don’t drink non-alcoholic wine yourself, you may want to have a bottle or two in your home for guests who don’t drink. 

To find a great bottle of non-alcoholic wine, start by learning about the alcohol by volume options for non-alcoholic wines and how non-alcoholic varieties are made. Next, consider the flavor or variety you like best, and decide on the type of packaging you prefer to ensure you wind up with the best non-alcoholic wine for your next dinner party.

Non-alcoholic wine corks
Non-alcoholic sparkling wines may come in corked bottles like regular sparkling wines, so you can still have the fun experience of popping the cork. 

How to buy the best non-alcoholic wine

Why opt for a non-alcoholic wine? 

There are plenty of reasons to consider a non-alcoholic wine, both for yourself and others. 

Many people can’t drink alcohol because of various health issues or the medications they take. It’s also a convenient option during pregnancy. You may want to cut down on your alcohol intake for health reasons, to avoid a hangover, or so you have something to drink during Dry January. It’s also a good idea to have some non-alcoholic wine on hand for guests serving as the designated driver during parties. 

Low-ABV vs. no-ABV

The term “non-alcoholic wine” is slightly misleading. Most beverages labeled as non-alcoholic do contain a small amount of alcohol, so they’re technically low-ABV wines. However, you can find a few wines with zero alcohol that are considered no-ABV.

Nearly all low-ABV non-alcoholic wines are 1.2% ABV or lower. However, some bottles that claim to be alcohol-free may actually be 0.05% ABV, so they contain trace amounts of alcohol. If you cannot or don’t want to consume any alcohol, read the wine’s label carefully to determine its precise ABV. 

How is non-alcoholic wine made?

All true non-alcoholic wines begin as fully fermented wines, and the alcohol is removed through a specific process or treatment. The trick is removing the alcohol without altering the flavor, mouthfeel, and aroma of the wine. 

Most non-alcoholic wines use reverse osmosis, vacuum distillation, or centrifuge spinning to remove the alcohol. 

  • Reverse osmosis presses the wine through a thin membrane to filter out the alcohol from the rest of the wine. It relies on significant pressure to push the wine through the membrane, which has holes so small that only water and alcohol can successfully pass through them. The concentrated wine is separated from them on the other side of the filter, while the alcohol is then separated from the water. Afterward, the water is returned to the concentrated wine for bottling. 
  • Vacuum distillation requires heating the wine to a high temperature so the ethanol in the wine reaches its boiling point. The alcohol then evaporates, which is similar to what happens when you cook with alcohol. High temperatures can affect the wine’s taste and aroma, so it’s heated in an airtight space. In a vacuum, ethanol only needs a temperature of 80°F to reach boiling, meaning the wine’s flavor and bouquet aren’t affected. 
  • Centrifuge spinning involves spinning the wine in a series of cones inside a centrifuge at high speeds. The centrifugal forces separate the wine into layers, and the wine is then treated with nitrogen gas to separate out the alcohol and water. The alcohol and water are spun in the cones again to separate the water, which is then returned to the concentrated wine for bottling.
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Did You Know?
Grape juice is sometimes added to non-alcoholic wines that have the alcohol removed. It helps improve the mouthfeel of the wine because non-alcoholic varieties are often thin. However, this can make non-alcoholic wine sweeter than full-alcohol wine. 
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What features do non-alcoholic wines have?

Flavor/varieties

Like traditional wines, non-alcoholic wines are available in four main varieties, which offer different flavor profiles than their full-alcohol counterparts. 

You can choose from:

  • Non-alcoholic white wines have similar fruity notes to traditional whites, but the balance between fruit and acid is slightly different. Non-alcoholic white wine still has a crisp flavor that’s quite refreshing.
  • Non-alcoholic red wine has a sweeter, fruitier flavor than full-alcohol reds. Alcohol-free reds aged in oak barrels can have a strong smoky flavor, so chilling the wine is recommended to tone down any unpalatable notes.
  • Non-alcoholic rosé offers a similar taste to classic rosé; you can find some that are fairly acidic and others that are sweeter. They have robust fruit notes with just a hint of bitterness from the tannins. 
  • Non-alcoholic sparkling wine can have bold citrus, nutty, or yeasty notes if they start as alcoholic sparkling wine and then have the alcohol removed. However, if they’re carbonated after the alcohol is removed, they usually have a stronger fruit flavor and floral bouquet. All non-alcoholic sparkling wines are extremely acidic and are considered some of the most delicious alcohol-free wine options. 

Packaging

Most non-alcoholic wines come in glass bottles like traditional wines, allowing the wine to age and improving its shelf life. Wine bottles are often tinted, which protects against UV rays. 

However, these days, canned packaging has become popular for both traditional and non-alcoholic wines. While it doesn’t allow for aging and means a shorter shelf life than glass bottles, it’s much more convenient for taking on the go. In addition, canned wine chills more quickly and is an excellent option when you don’t want to commit to drinking an entire bottle of wine. It tends to be less expensive than bottled wine. 

Food pairings

Just as with regular wine, certain varieties of non-alcoholic wine pair better with food options than others. 

  • Non-alcoholic whites and rosés pair well with light dishes such as chicken, seafood, pasta, and salads.
  • Non-alcoholic reds pair best with heavy recipes, including red meat, stews, and richer pasta dishes, such as lasagna. 
  • Non-alcoholic sparkling wines are ideal for cocktail parties and pairing with Asian recipes.

With most non-alcoholic wines containing 0.5% ABV or less, there’s virtually no chance of getting drunk when drinking them. 

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How do you accessorize non-alcoholic wines?

Wine glass sets

The right wine glass can make your wine drinking experience more enjoyable, even if you’re drinking non-alcoholic wine. Purchasing a wine glass set ensures you have a glass not only for yourself but also for guests you may be entertaining. 

Wine racks

If you need a storage option for your non-alcoholic wine bottles, a wine rack can provide a convenient spot to organize them. They’re available in many styles, materials, and sizes, so you can find a model that fits your needs and home decor. 

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Did You Know?
Some non-alcoholic wine brands offer sets containing a selection of multiple wine varieties, so you can sample several to find your favorite. 
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How much do non-alcoholic wines cost?

Inexpensive

The most affordable non-alcoholic wines are single bottles of white or red wine that don’t offer as robust a flavor as alcoholic wines. However, you can also find some four- or six-packs of canned varieties in this price range. You can pay $13 to $25 for these wines.

Mid-range

Mid-range non-alcoholic wines are single bottles of white, red, rosé, or sparkling wines that offer a similar flavor to alcoholic wines, and they cost $25 to $50.

Expensive

The most expensive non-alcoholic wines are bottles of white, red, rosé, or sparkling wine that come in sets of at least two. They offer a similar flavor to alcoholic wines, and you can spend $50 to $100 on them.

Tips

  • Check the labels of non-alcoholic wines just as you would for regular wine. Since it starts as traditional fermented wine, you should choose non-alcoholic varieties from the same regions you usually like for alcoholic wine to get a similar flavor. 
  • Chill non-alcoholic wine before drinking. Most of the wines taste better if they’re slightly chilled because the cold helps temper any bitterness or other unpleasant flavors in the wine.
  • Decant non-alcoholic wine, just as you would regular wine. You can enhance the wine’s flavor by exposing it to air and allowing it to breathe. Use the same decanter you would for your alcoholic wine to ensure it receives enough oxygen. 
Non-alcoholic wine fridge
Keep your non-alcoholic wine in a spot where it won’t receive direct exposure to sunlight or extreme temperature changes. You may want to store your bottles in the fridge to keep them chilled before drinking.

FAQ

Q. Are non-alcoholic wines just grape juice?

A. If you buy a wine labeled as non-alcoholic, there’s a chance you can wind up with what is essentially grape juice. However, if you check the label for the terms “alcohol removed” or “dealcoholized” wine, you can trust that you’re getting non-alcoholic wine and not just juice. These wines undergo the fermentation process and then have the alcohol removed — they’re not made in the same way as grape juice. 

Q. Do non-alcoholic wines have health benefits?

A. Non-alcoholic wines offer some health benefits. Like regular wine, they can help reduce the risk of heart disease. They contain the same polyphenols found in alcoholic wine, which are antioxidants that help protect the body from health issues such as inflammation and high blood pressure, and that support cardiovascular health. Non-alcoholic red wines have more polyphenols than whites, making them a better option for improving your heart health. 

In addition, non-alcoholic wines have fewer calories than full-alcohol wines; they’re an excellent choice if you’re trying to lose weight. 

Q. What’s the shelf life of non-alcoholic wine?

A. Non-alcoholic wines don’t have the same shelf life as traditional wines, because alcohol is a natural preservative. In most cases, you can expect an unopened bottle to last for one to two years. However, once you open a bottle, it’s best to drink it within two or three days. 

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