Whether you are taking a break from alcohol for a short period of time, trying out dry January, or are striving to live a life free of alcohol, good for you! We know the decision can be incredibly difficult to make. And we also know that you can occasionally feel like your beverage options are limited once you have made that decision. This is significantly magnified when you are out with your friends and family, and you are the only one not drinking alcohol.
We know it might seem ironic that we, a wine company, are writing about being dry. However, we would like to clarify that we are supportive of any decision that you feel strongly will improve your mental or physical health. Taking a break is always a good idea.
We are guessing that you are doing your research and looking into what beverages you can still enjoy while living your alcohol-free life. And we are assuming that you are a wine lover and are most interested in learning about alcohol-free. So let us dive in and discuss everything you need to know!
What Is Non Alcoholic Wine?
A Non Alcoholic wine is essentially a wine that has had its alcohol removed. The drink can be called non-alcoholic, alcohol-free, and dealcoholized. To be classified by any of these names, the drink must have 0.0% alcohol by volume.
How Is It Different From Juice?
If you remove the alcohol out of wine, does that merely make it grape juice? Actually, no, it is more complex than that. The most significant distinction between non-alcoholic wine and grape juice is the way the two are produced. Quite simply, non-alcoholic wine is created just like its alcoholic counterpart; however, it includes one extra step. This additional step is where the winemakers remove the alcohol before bottling. It has a similar mouthfeel and wine taste to the real thing. There are non-alcoholic merlots, cabernets, chardonnay, and rosé wine. Zinfandels, rieslings... the possibilities are endless!
On the other hand, grape juice is simply unfermented grape juice. True, they both are created from grapes and, as such, taste similar. However, there is still a distinct contrast in their flavor profiles. This is mainly because of how they are created.
How Is It Made?
When alcohol-free wine is made, it goes through the same process as alcoholic wine. In case you need a refresher, we will go through the steps. Grapes are harvested from a vineyard, either by humans or a machine. The grapes are selected based on the desired profile for wine or non-alcohol wine based on their acidity, sweetness, and taste. Once the grapes are harvested, they are then taken to either a winery or manufacturer and sorted.
After the grapes are selected for wine, they are then destemmed and crushed with a mechanical press. Pending on the wine, the grapes are either crushed quickly to separate the juice from the skins and seeds or slowly to allow the grapes to remain in contact with their skins. This is the central aspect that distinguishes between white and red wine.
Now is the step where alcohol-free wine differs from grape juice. Alcohol-free wine undergoes a fermentation process. This step converts natural sugars in the juice into alcohol. Juice naturally begins fermenting within six to twelve hours. However, yeast is added to sure the correct consistency of wine. The fermentation process will continue until all of the sugar has been converted into alcohol. Depending on the wine type and desired flavors, fermentation lasts around ten days to longer than a month. In contrast, grape juice does not undergo the fermentation process. Instead, the grapes are pasteurized to halt fermentation entirely.
Not only does non-alcoholic wine go through an entire fermentation process, but it also goes through an aging process like an alcoholic wine. The aging process intensifies the wine's flavor and influences the quality and taste. At the final production stages, non-alcoholic wine has its alcohol removed either through distillation or filtration. Because alcohol-free wine undergoes the same method as alcoholic wine, it is significantly less sugary than grape juice and still has the same flavor profile as alcoholic wine.
In many ways, alcohol-free wine is considerably different than alcoholic wine and grape juice. While it undergoes the same fermentation and aging as alcohol wine, the alcohol is then removed, making it grape juice but with the same flavor profile as wine.
Why Drink Non Alcoholic Wine?
If you are trying to take time away from alcohol but love wine, non-alcoholic wine is an excellent option. While there are various non-alcoholic drinks on the market, like juices, you should give alcohol-free wine a try. Today, there are tons of non-alcoholic wines available, from alcohol-free champagnes to roses.
According to experts far smarter than us, non-alcoholic red wine decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Apparently, it lowers blood pressure, which, therefore, reduces the risk of heart attack by around twenty percent and decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by fourteen percent. Non-alcoholic red wine contains the same amount of "the good stuff" as alcoholic red wine but with zero abv! Namely, it includes the same polyphenols: antioxidants that reduce blood pressure and prevent cancerous, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative illnesses.
Additionally, alcohol and dieting are not known to "get along." The truth is that wine, in general, does not have that much sugar or calories, whether it's white wine, red wine, or bubbly sparkling wine. We love to celebrate with some sparkling brut champagne! But, after a few glasses, regular wine calories and sugar start to add up. So here is the thing to remember with wine and alcohol in general: moderation is key. In fact, moderation is actually crucial in pretty much everything we do. And yes, we feel like this has been told to us hundreds of times, but then we over workout, overeat, over obsess over an ex on Instagram…. the point is, moderation is challenging but essential. To be healthy or go on a diet, science indicates that excessive alcohol intake does slow fat burning and cause weight gain. Takeaway: if you are worried about losing weight or gaining weight, simply think moderation. One glass of wine... Or grab a non-alcoholic option! Whether it's a non-alcoholic sparkling wine, a green apple mocktail, a white tea, or a cranberry juice, there are plenty of non-alcoholic options to try.