While the idea of non-alcoholic wine might seem like an oxymoron, it’s a booming category. As more Americans adopt lifestyle habits rooted in health and wellness, the popularity of non-alcoholic wine is only expected to grow.
In fact, no- and low-alcohol beverages saw more than $3.3 billion of sales in 2021, according to Nielsen, and sales of non-alcoholic products, including wine, are already up 19% in 2022.
As consumer interest in the non-alcoholic wine category has grown, so have drinkers’ options ― new products keep coming. Here’s what wine lovers need to know.
Non-alcoholic wine quick facts
- What is non-alcoholic wine?
- How is non-alcoholic wine made?
- What does non-alcoholic wine taste like?
- Non-alcoholic wines to try
What is non-alcoholic wine?
Like traditional wine, non-alcoholic wine starts with harvested grapes that have undergone fermentation. Red and white grapes can be used, and winemakers can choose to create sparkling wines and rosé. However, for any style of wine to be classified as non-alcoholic or alcohol-free, the wine must have an alcohol by volume of 0.5% or less.
To remove or reduce the alcohol, winemakers can choose from a few different techniques.
How is non-alcoholic wine made?
At Freixenet Mionetto, one of the world’s biggest sparkling wine producers and producers of Mionetto Prosecco, winemakers rely on vacuum technology to create their Alcohol-Removed Premium Sparkling White and Rosé wines.
“Both the sparkling white and rosé start as traditional wines with 10% to 11% alcohol. To extract the alcohol without compromising flavor and aroma, the wine is heated at 86 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Enore Ceola, CEO and President of Freixenet Mionetto USA.
Then there’s the spinning cone, a method that’s not too distant from the vacuum. With spinning cone columns, the wine undergoes low-temperature evaporation and condensation, which quickly separates the alcohol from the wine before everything is blended back together again.
Another way to remove alcohol is through a cross-flow filtration system. Like the purification systems that can separate unwanted molecules, and other particles from drinking water, the cross-flow filtration separates aromatic compounds and constituent elements from the wine before alcohol is removed, after which water is added to the wine and blended with the wine concentrates that were filtered out.
What does non-alcoholic wine taste like?
Perhaps the biggest challenge of making non-alcoholic wine is maintaining the qualities people love about wine in the first place, like its flavor, texture, and mouthfeel. Alcohol interacts with and enhances the different components of wine, so removing it can make the wine lifeless.
However, winemakers have worked to improve the quality and taste of non-alcoholic wine by incorporating a few different techniques during the winemaking process.
In some instances, winemakers add concentrated grape must to help replace what the wine may have lost from alcohol removal. Or winemakers may choose to create a dealcoholized sparkling wine, as bubbles can also help influence the aroma, texture, and mouthfeel of a wine.
“When alcohol is removed from wine through the vacuum process, the wine is left with an unpleasant acidic, bitter taste. In order to improve upon this taste, we add sugar — as done with all winemaking processes — and additional natural grape aromatics,” says Ceola.
Non-alcoholic wines to try
As the non-alcoholic wine category continues to grow, chances are there will be even more unique methods and blends to arrive, ready to enjoy.
Sparkling non-alcoholic wines to try:
Freixenet Penedès Alcohol Removed Sparkling Rosé (~$11)
This shimmering pink wine is produced in the Penedès region of Spain and made with a blend of indigenous grapes. The aromas of fresh raspberry and strawberry are pronounced with hints of florals. On the palate, the wine is fresh, fruity, and vibrant with medium-sized bubbles that lead to a creamy mouthfeel.
Only You Non Alcoholic Sparkling Rose NV (~$13)
This wine is made with Tempranillo grapes from Spain. The wine displays fruit-forward aromas of cranberry, grapefruit, and tart strawberry, while the palate is dry, clean, and crisp with fresh acidity and tiny persistent bubbles.
Freixenet Alcohol Free Sparkling White (~$13)
Produced in the Penedès region of Spain from indigenous grapes, this pale, bright yellow wine displays refreshing aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. The palate is soaked in fruity peach, lemon, and lime nuances and wraps up clean with fresh acidity.
Dr Fischer Steinbock NonAlcoholic Sparkling Brut (~$18)
This aromatic sparkling Riesling is made in Germany’s Mosel region. Light and dry with delicate bubbles, the wine smells of juicy white fruit and florals while the palate exudes ample citrus flavors. The finish is fresh and lively with acidity.
Thomson & Scott Noughty Alcohol-Free Sparkling Chardonnay (~$22)
From the Rheingau region of Germany comes this sparkling Chardonnay. The pale white wine displays intense apple aromas and flavors, while the palate zings with crisp acidity. A touch of sweetness is detected on the back end through the vibrant finish.
Non-alcoholic white wine to try:
Weingut Leitz Rheingau Eins Zwei Zero Riesling Alcohol Free (~$10)
Made with Riesling grapes, this wine from Rheingau is booming with aromas of citrusy orange and anise. The palate is awash with minerality and lime nuances greeted with red apple and lemon flavors. The finish is fresh and crisp.
Giesen Non Alcoholic 0% Sauvignon Blanc White Marlborough New Zealand (~$14)
This white wine is made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in Marlborough, New Zealand. It displays the variety’s hallmark green aromas and flavors that intertwine with waves of minerality and clean acidity. The finish is crisp and refreshing.
Weingut Fritz Allendorf Save Water Drink Riesling Alcohol Free Rheingau Germany NV (~$18)
You can’t miss the apricot and pineapple aroma on this Riesling. From Rheingau, this pale white wine is fresh with zesty lemongrass and stone fruit nuances. The palate is drenched in stone fruit flavors, and notes of apricot particularly stand out. The finish is soft and racy with bright acidity.
Non-alcoholic red wine to try:
Ariel NonAlcoholic Cabernet Sauvignon (~$10)
Cabernet Sauvignon gets the non-alcoholic treatment in this California-made red wine. Intense fragrances of blackberry, blueberry, and cocoa lead the aroma while the palate displays lush black cherry, vanilla, and spiced oak nuances. Soft tannins come into focus on the backend while the lingering finish wraps up with fine acidity.
Weingut Leitz Rheingau Zero Point Five Pinot Noir Non Alcoholic (~$21)
This ruby red wine hails from Rheingau and is made with Pinot Noir grapes. The wine is clean and fresh with red currant and cherry aromas that are also noticeable on the palate. A clean line of acidity comes to life mid-palate along with a note of crushed earth and spice. The finish lingers with red fruit nuances and supple tannins.