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What are de-alcoholised wines?

01 Oct, 2015

As we step into October, we cannot forget that some people will be taking part in the Go Sober for October campaign, something that’s organised annually by MacMillan Cancer Support, whereby you are challenged to not drink alcohol for 31 days for a good cause. We started to think about all those participating wine lovers who truly had a very hard test ahead of them. And while there are some very good alcohol-free drinks options on the market now, people still ask us what de-alcoholised wines actually are. Here’s the lowdown:

Do de-alcoholised wines have any alcohol?

Yes they do, but because the level is below 0.5%, they are branded as ‘alcohol free’, but you should be aware of it in case for some unknown reaosn, you chose to drink a few bottles of the stuff!

Is de-alcoholised wine just grape juice?

Not exactly! It was once grape juice, but it is now fermented grape juice, that goes through the the same process used to make wine. The alcohol is simply removed at the end (see below for how).

How is wine de-alcoholised?  

There are two main process for making de-alcoholised wine: vacuum distillation and reverse osmosis. In both cases, the process starts with making an alcoholic wine from grape juice and then extracting the alcohol.

de-alcoholised wine winerist

Vacuum Distillation

A quick and cheap process whereby alcohol is warmed up and the alcohol starts to evaporate and is removed. While this process does not boil the wine, many people complain that the main phenolic components that give the wine its floral aroma get lost or evaporate in this process.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis filters out the aroma and phenolic components before the alcohol is removed by distillation. Later on, the remaining water is added back into the filtered wine afterwards with the aroma and phemloic extracts. It’s a lengthy process and can end up being quite expensive!

How long can I store a de-alcoholised wine for?

You would not really want to keep these ‘wines’ for long, but they will probably be ok for a year or two in stotage that isn’t too hot. 

Do de-alcoholised wines taste the same as normal wines?

Sadly they don’t, in our opinion. De-alcoholised wines tend to taste sweeter, have more cooked fruit flavours and lack the finesse and fine aromas that come from ‘real’ wines. They are much better these days than they used to be but in our opinion, we’d give them a swerve. 

Did you know that Winerist offer wine a food experiences all over the world? Check out Winerist.com for tours, wineries and hotels in wine regions. Want more information about how to use wine in a healthy way? Here’s our piece on wine-based beauty products and is drinking a bottle of wine a day bad for you

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