"I'm not able to drink any alcohol right now due to a medical condition. Do you have any recommendations for non-alcoholic or very low alcohol wines that don't taste terrible?" - sent to us by anonymous
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Thanks for writing, historically non-alcoholic beverages have tasted pretty bad or at least not as consistent with what we expect from a naturally fermented product. Part of this is that quite frankly, the sensation that alcohol causes in the body as well as the smells that alcohol vapors help take to our brain through the nose just aren't there anymore. There are two primary methods for making non-alcoholic wine. The first is to bottle the grape juice before it is fermented, or you can let the grape juice ferment naturally and then distill it and allow the wine to dealcoholize by essentially burning it out of the wine. This second process will allow most of the flavors to remain but the alcohol has escaped before the wine is bottled.
Despite this process changing the product considerably, there are some good options for non-alcoholic wine that available now in the United States. Let's take a look at these responses from our Ask The Men Team ...
Chad from UnfinishedMan.com :
I try and avoid drinking beverages without alcohol, so unfortunately I've never tried non-alcoholic wine. So I started doing some digging, and the one brand of non-alcoholic wine that came up time and again as being "decent" and "not totally disgusting" was Stella Rosa. I hope that helps!
James from ManTripping.com :
I am a big fan of wine and innovations happening within the wine industry. However, like Chad, I haven't tried any alcohol-free wines. However, I have tried many low alcohol wines and I've been very impressed. New Zealand has become one of the leading sources of producing so called "Lighter Wine", including several vintages that go down to 0.5% ABV.
One notable one is Sovi NA wine that prides itself on using high-quality grapes to deliver a better experience than many others are currently doing. For example, while many others add sugar or grape juice after the dealcoholization process, they do not and this allows for a better expression of the grapes.
Typically, most wines have a 7%-16% ABV and lighter wines are generally anything lower than 9%. Two of the wines that fall in that range are available in the United States are are quite good, include Kim Crawford Illuminate Sauvignon Blanc and Mia Sparkling Moscato. Both of these vintages are only 7% ABV. Chiarlo Nivole Moscato is only 5%. Many other moscato wines also tend to be low in ABV.
If you are looking for closer to non-alcoholic wines, I also have some recommendations that I am told are quite good but I have not tasted them myself.
Ariel Non-alcoholic Wine Two Pack (Cabernet and Chardonnay), you can buy it on Amazon.com. This was suggested by a friend who enjoyed it while she was pregnant but didn't want to give up wine completely when attending social functions. it is made by the J. Lohr company so this is not just a knockoff brand trying to compete in the space without knowing what they are doing.
Sutter Home makes Fre, an alcohol removed wine that comes in bottles as well as cans. Reviews among my wine friends were mixed with some folks liking it and others who didn't like it and preferred Ariel instead.
Castello di Amorosa in Napa, California is making several "Grape Juice" products that are alcohol free as well. This includes a Gewürztraminer, Muscat Canelli, and a Red Blend that you can order off of their website. I'm told they tend to be much sweeter than a wine would generally be, but this is not surprising since there has been no fermentation process to convert the sugar into alcohol.