What Is Non-Alcoholic Wine?

August 19, 2022

For drinkers aiming to sip more mindfully, give up alcohol completely, or something in between, there’s a new crop of beverages ready to give you all the satisfaction of traditional wine without the potential side effects (ahem, hangovers). One thing’s for sure: today’s innovative brands are bottling beverages that definitely don’t taste like an afterthought. With sustainable sourcing, mindful mixing, and tapping some of the best winemakers in the business, non-alcoholic wine is one elevated beverage you’ll want to drink year-round.

FAQs: All Your Non-Alcoholic Wine Questions Answered

There’s a lot to learn about the non-alcoholic (NA) wine industry, but we’re pretty sure that once you understand the process and the ethos behind some of the brands, your curiosity will be piqued to see what these beverages are all about.

what is non-alcoholic wine?

What is non-alcoholic wine?

Can wine even exist without alcohol? Actually, yes. Non-alcoholic wine is exactly what it sounds like—everything you love about wine, sans alcohol.

Are there trace amounts of alcohol in non-alcoholic wine?

Short answer? It depends. Any NA wine that has undergone the fermentation process will have trace amounts of alcohol, often in the realm of .5% or less. (This is similar to commercial kombucha.) Other brands have absolutely zero alcohol, so be sure to check with the brand directly if you’re looking for a specific option.

How is non-alcoholic wine made?

Most non-alcoholic wine starts the same way as traditional wine—with fermentation. Without this process, which is responsible for imparting complex flavor and aroma—what you’re drinking will be nothing more than grape juice. Wine Enthusiast reports that four methods are approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for removing alcohol from wine (head to the Institute of Food Technologists for a deeper dive), but the two most common are vacuum distillation and reverse osmosis.

  • Vacuum distillation: Also known as thin-film evaporation, this method was developed by Canandaigua Wine Co. in Gonzales, California, who produced the first non-alcoholic wine in the 1970s. For vacuum distillation, wine is fed to a centrifugal evaporator consisting of several hollow cones. Then, a thin film of wine travels across the inner surface of the cone which is heated by steam flowing through the hollow chamber within the cone. It’s the combination of exposure to this film at an elevated temperature that allows the alcohol to evaporate.
  • Reverse osmosis: For this approach, wine is run through a filter, and the filter separates the alcohol based on the size of the molecule. According to Terry Donnelly, chairman and CEO of Hill Street Beverage Company Inc. “alcohol is a bigger molecule than water, so you can literally run it through like a microscopic strainer and filter the alcohol off.” Another reason this method is appealing is because of the technology. Since the wine isn’t heated, all the natural grape flavor remains.

Why drink non-alcoholic wine?

There are lots of reasons why someone might decide to temporarily or permanently drink non-alcoholic wine. It could be that you’re starting a new health journey, you’re pregnant, you’re interested in sleeping better and regaining your energy, or maybe you simply don’t want to. Whatever the reason, there are more non-alcoholic options available than ever before, making it easier to still enjoy your social life while opting out of alcohol at the same time.

Is non-alcoholic wine healthier than regular wine?

One study has shown that non-alcoholic wine is actually healthier than regular wine (at least for men). The Atlantic explains that researchers in Barcelona had nearly 70 men (all with risk factors of various diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes) drink either red wine, non-alcoholic red wine, or gin every day for four weeks before rotating beverages. At the end of the study, “the non-alcoholic red wine was associated with a significant decrease in blood pressure, lowering heart disease risk by 14 percent and the risk of stroke by 20 percent. The alcoholic red wine, however, did not appear to have such effects.” The big takeaway? Even though alcoholic and non-alcoholic red wines both contain antioxidants, the alcohol “may be blocking the polyphenols from doing their protective work. Non-alcoholic red wine may therefore be more effective at protecting the heart.”


Brand Spotlight: Grüvi & Surely

Our members might be clean wine aficionados, but they also appreciate a non-alcoholic sip that doesn’t compromise on taste and quality. Meet two brands who are changing the social drinking rules (and leaving no taste bud behind).

Grüvi

Gruvi Non-Alcoholic Wine

Founder and CEO Niki Sawni had the idea to develop a non-alcoholic beverage line in 2018 after attending a party and realizing that alcohol and cannabis don’t mix well. Once recovered, his friends and family started asking why there weren’t better drinks to enjoy when hanging out together. Today, Grüvi empowers you to live in the moment—regardless of what’s in your cup. This brand believes in a world where everyone can feel comfortable, even if they’re avoiding alcohol, and emphasizes inclusivity and choice with every can.

Try Grüvi…

  • Dry Secco: Thrive Market member Holly from Virginia makes a pretty compelling case for this bottle of non-alcoholic Prosecco. “It has the fragrance and intense flavor of ripe luscious grapes draped in succulent honey, with effervescence of the finest champagne.” Sold.
  • Bubbly Rosé: With a signature pink hue and aromas of tart green apple and fresh strawberry, this is one sweet drink everyone can toast with. Pregnant Valerie in California recently brought this to a family vacation and says “it helped me not feel like I was missing out on the wine.”

Surely

Surely Non-Alcoholic Wine

Before starting Surely, Founder and CEO Ryan Hanson was a twentysomething who noticed it became harder and harder to recover from a night of drinking. The social scene beckoned, yet none of the non-alcoholic options were appealing. After eliminating alcohol and reaping the benefits (like better sleep and mental clarity) he decided no one should have to settle for subpar drinks. Surely sources sustainable grapes from premium growing regions in California and works with a talented team of winemakers to deliver bottles that keep your wellness goals in mind without sacrificing flavor.

Try Surely…

  • Non-Alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc: Called “the best non-alcoholic wine I’ve had” by Thrive Market member Michelle in Pennsylvania, this bottle is made with grapes sourced from Sonaoma’s Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.
  • Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Rosé: Anika from Wisconsin shares “it’s nice to be able to sip on something fun and summery without the tipsiness.” Grab a bottle to enjoy now (and skip tomorrow’s hangover).

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before changing your diet or healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Thrive Market does not represent or warrant that the nutrition, ingredient, allergen, and other product information on our website is accurate or complete, since this information comes from the product manufacturers. On occasion, manufacturers may improve or change their product formulas and update their labels. We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented on our website and that you review the product’s label or contact the manufacturer directly if you have specific product concerns or questions.

This article is related to:

Healthy Drinks, Healthy Wine

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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