Many of our customers ask how do you make alcohol-free wine? It’s just juice, right?
Do you enjoy a good glass of wine but don’t like the alcohol content? Or maybe you’re just looking for a healthier option that doesn’t have any alcohol at all? In either case, you’ll be happy to know that it is possible to make alcohol-free wine! In this blog, we’ll break down exactly how winemakers create alcohol-free wine.
Non-alcoholic wine is a wine from which the alcohol has been removed. It goes through the same production process as regular wine, with one additional step to remove the alcohol.
The process of making non-alcoholic wine is not very different from making regular wine.
It consists of 3 steps:
- The winemaker grows the grapes and harvest them as soon as they reach the optimal sugar and acidity level.
- After the harvest, they crush the grapes. Depending on the desired style of wine, they either remove the grape solids (skins, stems, seeds) or leave them in the must.
- Next, they ferment the grape juice. During fermentation, the grape sugar turns into alcohol. If the goal is to make a sweet wine, the winemaker stops the fermentation early, so there is plenty of residual sugar left. In case, they want to produce a dry wine, they wait until all sugar has transformed into alcohol.
- Many wines undergo an aging period after that. They spend time in oak or steel barrels, where they slowly mature. That means they develop new aromas, their tannins soften, and they become more balanced in taste.
At this point, they bottle regular wines.
For non-alcoholic wines, they have to perform an additional step before bottling: extracting the alcohol. To remove the alcohol, winemakers have three different options.
Wine Makers heat the wine to the temperature where the alcohol evaporates, so they can simply extract it. Unfortunately, heating the wine causes it to oxidize, and oxidation can lead to very unpleasant flavor changes.
To avoid this issue, they perform the distillation in a vacuum. Inside a vacuum, alcohol’s boiling temperature decreases, so winemakers can distill their wines at much lower temperatures without the risk of ruining them.
During this process, vintners use high pressure instead of heat to achieve their goals. They force the wine against a membrane, a very thin physical barrier. This barrier functions as a filter that separates water and alcohol from the wine’s aromatic components.
Next, the wine maker distill the mix of water and alcohol to remove the alcohol. And finally, they reunite the remaining water with the aromatic components. As the water volume is lower than the alcohol-water mix, they typically add more water to get to the proper proportions.
They put their wine into a column of cones that spin at a very high speed. These movements create centrifugal forces that transform the wine into a thin film. Next, nitrogen gas is pumped into the column. This gas extracts the aroma components from the wine, which are stored in a separate tank.
The remaining mix of water and alcohol runs through the spinning cone column again. But this time, they increase the temperature inside the column. This second run-through separates the water from the alcohol so it can extract the alcohol. Finally, they remix the water with the aroma and components to create a non-alcoholic wine.
What Does Alcohol-Free Wine Taste Like?
Now that we know how alcohol-free wine is made, you might be wondering what it tastes like. The truth is, alcohol-free wine can taste just as good as regular wine! In fact, many people can’t even tell the difference.
If you’re a wine lover, non-alcoholic wine might not appear very attractive at first. However, you can now find many great alcohol-free wines, that taste great for those who want to reduce their alcohol intake or stay sober all together. And if you’re pregnant, on medication, or simply the designated driver of the day, they are definitely worth trying.
At Kindred Spirits, here in Richland, WA you can find a wide variety of alcohol free wines, spirits, cider, and even beer. Our goal is to make it easy for you to find an alcohol free beverage that isn’t a soda, or water, and we even have what you need to make fun exciting alcohol free beverages like AF moscow mules, mimosas, and more.