To the self-respecting wine connoisseur, anything labelled as non alcoholic might seem like sacrilege. While it’s true that historically, non-alcoholic alternatives to conventional reds and chilled whites might have struggled to hit the right notes, things have changed.
Many a vineyard and enterprising producer have prevailed to deliver a wealth of alcohol-free alternatives for the wine lover looking to savour complexity on the nose and deliciously deep flavour on the palate.
Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Wine
There’s many reasons why someone might choose a non-alcoholic wine over a traditional option. Some may be looking to curtail the intake of calories as part of a healthier lifestyle and leaner waistline. Others may be taking medication and unable to consume alcohol for fear of complications.
For those with a high intake of alcohol units regularly, non-alcoholic wine might be seen as an easy way to minimise the negative effects of drinking. Whether it’s used to supplement full-bodied bottles of your preferred reds and whites, or taken to as a total swap, non alcoholic wines bring plenty of potential benefits.
That groggy head and signature stomach churn of a killer hangover needn’t be a sure thing. What’s more, consuming all those empty calories won’t be adding unwanted inches to your waistline and exacerbating all manner of potential health problems.
Myths About Alcohol-Free Wine
We’re not for a second saying non-alcoholic wines are misleading customers with their content claims, but the trace volumes of alcohol you can expect in such bottles of plonk merit a mention.
Whether it’s a mature red, summer-ready white or elegant champagne you’ve plumped for in the supermarket aisles, you can expect to have a very slight amount of alcohol still lingering in the mix.
That being said, legislation of non-alcoholic wines lays down some ground rules that give us a better idea of volumes and percentages. As a general rule, if a bottle of wine contains more than one percent of alcohol, it can’t be called non-alcoholic. In a lot of cases, you’ll find non-alcoholic varietals containing little more than half that. That’s certainly a sharp decrease from the usual double-figures you’d find when glancing over ABV stats on everyday wine bottles, but this slight trace can still cause problems for those needing to steer well clear of any amount of alcohol.
Those with pre-existing medical conditions and patients taking courses of potent medication are advised to avoid even non-alcoholic wine options. If you’re someone who falls into the latter two categories of drinker, it’s certainly advised you consult your doctor or health professional to ascertain whether or not you’ll be able to enjoy non-alcoholic wine.
More Reasons to Consider Switching
We’ve talked about the obvious benefits of bringing down overall alcohol intake and huge dents in calorie consumption levels, but there’s more good news when it comes to non-alcoholic wine and health benefits. Consider antioxidants, found naturally in both non-alcoholic and alcoholic wine varietals, which have long been proven to promote better health in humans.
With non-alcoholic varieties of wine, you won’t find the pickings as rich as you might with conventional red vintages, but there’s still plenty of alcohol-free choices that come packaged with the added perk of polyphenols and other antioxidants. If a leaner frame, less body fat and reduced fatigue aren’t enough to get you to consider the switch, the cardiovascular credentials of some of these antioxidants (minus the negative aspects associated with alcohol consumption) certainly should.
How is Alcohol-Free Wine Produced?
When it comes to making this alcohol-free essential, there’s two popular processes favoured by producers. The first of these is known as vacuum distillation. With this production method, the wine is evaporated at a temperature relatively lower to boiling processes. Sadly, there’s a drawback to this method being used.
It’s common for the most appealing aromas of a wine to suffer from the evaporation stages, disappearing into thin air along with the alcohol content. Signatures of wine, such as floral notes on the nose are compromised with this method, which is a key reason why it’s the least popular method of removing alcohol by far.
The second and more commonly encountered method is reverse osmosis. Here, the compounds associated with aroma and other wine elements are filtered out prior to the eventual removal of alcohol via distillation processes. Once this is all over, any remaining water is returned to the wine compound that’s just been filtered. The process is repeated again for good measure. In fact, many producers can repeat the process as many as four times before bottling the finished product.
Our Picks of the Best Non-Alcoholic Wines in 2020
Feeling inspired by what you’ve learnt about non-alcoholic varietals? You’ve no shortage of options for when it comes to seeking out a quality alcohol-free Chardonnay or champagne nowadays, but all that choice certainly makes for a competitive market.
To help you sift the wheat from the chaff and save the disappointment of a lacklustre bottle, we’ve narrowed down some of our absolute favourites for you to consider. From spectacular sparkling wines well-suited to summer days to more refined whites for those seeking distinguished depth of flavour and aroma, there’s something for everyone in this enticing batch of brilliant wines.
Marketed as a wine that knows when to party, Eisberg Alcohol-Free Chardonnay might stamp out the unwanted ABV percentage, but it maintains plenty of fruity flavour and a heady aroma. Eisberg is a consistent favourite with drinkers seeking alcohol-free alternatives, with the brand topping sales in the sector in the UK. This sumptuous Chardonnay is a signature example of why this producer continues to do so well.
Fruit flavour leads the way here, but there’s nothing too overpowering to worry about. Rather, there’s a somewhat delicate hint of vanilla on the nose, drawing you in to a vibrant palate that packs a crisp apple edge. Those seeking something a little more complex with a lingering finish can look forward to a subtle touch of honey as this Chardonnay finishes its dance about your taste buds.
Like any good non-alcoholic wine, a lower calorie count can be enjoyed here. In the case of this Eisberg Chardonnay, a standard 135ml serving chalks up just 26 calories. With all that sweet flavour on offer, that’s a pretty remarkable feat. What’s more, the low-calorie credentials of this delicious varietal make it an easy choice for food pairing. Summer salads, grilled chicken and seafood will all combine effortlessly with this champion of a wine!Check Price Now
Prefer your aromas a little more complex and your flavour profiles on the more sophisticated side? Eisberg deliver the goods again with this alcohol-free Cabernet Sauvignon. The alcohol might be absent, but the richness you’d expect from a mature red like this is front and centre. Even before you crack open the bottle, the sultry ruby hue of this red varietal beckons you in. Once you have poured your serving, look forward to red fruit aromas, with plum and cherry the chief performers.
When it comes to flavour, those rich red fruits drive a triumph across your palate. This is definitely one worth savouring, even if you don’t have to worry about watching your units. Like any good red, this Cabernet Sauvignon from Eisberg is perfect marriage material for food pairing. Team it up with the usual suspects like rare beef and meaty mushrooms if you’re looking to pour a glass to partner your dinner plate. If you’re more creative in the kitchen, a bottle of this dynamic red will always find a use in your recipes.
Again, there’s a low calorie content to feel good about. Pour yourself a 125ml serving of this instant classic and you’ll only have to contend with an additional 26 calories consumed. Perfect if you’re a fan of those red wine fundamentals, but find yourself having to stop savouring all too soon when drinking alcoholic alternatives.Check Price Now
Prefer the contents of your wine bottles a little on the sparkling side? Then Nosecco Alcohol-Frees Sparkling Wine has plenty to pique your interest. At first glance, this wine exudes a shimmer of sophistication with its pale gold hue and elegant bubbles. Glance alone won’t deliver all the delights this wine has to offer, however. You’ll want to waste no time in cracking open this stunning sparkling and pouring a generous measure into the nearest glass.
Once that’s done, get set for a vibrant aroma that hits the nose with a bouquet of fruity and floral notes. Pale grape and white florals form the backbone here, gently leading you towards your first sip that unveils a flavour profile that delights the palate with consistently fruity character and a remarkably fine structure. And if that’s not enough to tick all required boxes, you can count on a satisfying finish to cap things off.
This alcohol-free sparkling wine should be a fridge staple. A good summer wine like this will always find a willing customer, whether you’re looking for a go-to aperitif to break out at parties or a versatile match for light evening dishes and sun-drenched alfresco lunches. Just remember to keep this one chilled before serving for maximum satisfaction.Check Price Now
If you’re a follower of the refined flavour profile and aromas of red grape varietals, here’s a great option for curbing your calorie intake and alcohol consumption, without sacrificing on the things you love. This Pure Heaven Non-Alcoholic Celebration Drink might boast a somewhat awkward name, but crack this out at gatherings and you’ll have no need to worry about breaking the ice. A veggie-friendly option with nothing in the way of preservatives or added sugars and colourings, this Halal Certified plonk is a great all-rounder that ensures nobody’s left out when it comes to celebrating.
With red grape forming the basis of this wine, you can look forward to all those signature aromas and flavour notes here. There’s a nice level of richness to the taste, with a subtle shot of fizz adding a bit of drama to your palate. It’s a milder option than your usual red, with a backbone more akin to grape juice than a mature Merlot, but this makes it an easy-drinking essential that should alienate nobody.
With nothing untoward included in the recipe or manufacturing process, Pure Heaven is a popular option for those looking for a bottle to toast good news at the office or with a wider social circle, particularly when you’re not completely sure on everybody’s drinking habits and individual requirements.Check Price Now
Pining for Prosecco since you decided to abstain from alcohol? Scavi & Ray deliver an exciting compromise with this Spumante wine that brings all the big character of the sparkling favourite, but none of the alcohol content. It’s a full-bodied affair when it comes to flavour here, with a purer taste than what you’d expect courtesy of a reduction of sugar in the recipe.
This particular wine has been promoted as a go-to for those in the stages of pregnancy or young mothers who might still be breastfeeding. In fact, it’s won an award or two by marketing directly to this sector of the market. You’ll love the trademark dryness you’ll get here, similar to Prosecco, but without the excess bubbles and sometimes, overbearing sweetness. If you’re looking for a more palatable alternative to your favourite sparkling wine, regardless of whether alcohol content is a concern, this offering from Scavi & Ray is also worth looking into.
At 30 calories per standard glass serving, it’s an ideal option for those making a big effort to curb calorie intake, especially all those empty calories consumed by drinking alcohol. Definitely seek this one out and see if you don’t find yourself falling head over heels just like you did for Prosecco all those years back.Check Price Now
Take inspiration from the name of this one and say ‘adieu’ to the sup-bar non-alcoholic whites you might have suffered before. The Sauvignon Blanc is a pinnacle of achievement in the wine-making industry, so capturing the core essence of this iconic tipple while keeping out the alcohol content is a real achievement.
Marvel at the colour of this wine before you begin, with its pale body, tinted with a touch of golden yellow and the occasional flourish of lime green. That colour chart should set you up for what to expect in terms of aroma and flavour, with a highly expressive nose that’s packed with white florals, tropical touches and an undercurrent of mineral character. This exotic funfair of flavour carries onto the palate, with a beautifully balanced profile that’s enriched with zesty lemon notes and a hint of grapefruit. The finish of this white is particularly pleasing, with a smile of satisfaction almost a given for anyone who enjoys a sip or two of this must-try.
As you’d expect from a quality white, particularly a Cabernet Sauvignon, food pairing is a pleasure. Break out a bottle when you’re serving summer lunches outdoors, light chicken suppers, seafood platters and more.Check Price Now
Savour the Delights of the Non-Alcoholic World
So now you’ve been given the guided tour of the possibilities that await you in the non-alcoholic wine world.
Whether you’re a former sceptic looking to be won over by an alcoholic-free Cabernet Sauvignon that holds its own against the best of its full-bodied brothers, or a devotee of the grape who needs to curb their unit intake for health or lifestyle reasons, you’ve plenty of premier options.