Best Non Alcoholic Wine Reviews - Top Reviews and Picks
We are on a quest today to find the best non-alcoholic wines; ones that actually taste good and that are enjoyable to drink.
To start with, I'll cut right to the chase and give you four great options that you can click on below:
Whether it is non-alcoholic red wine or non-alcoholic white wine, many will say this statement is somewhat of an oxymoron – to many the phrases “good” and “non-alcoholic wine” just don’t belong together in the same sentence.
While it is unlikely that we will find wines that equal their alcoholic counterparts in terms of taste and quality, we hope to at least give it a fair shot and maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised! Or maybe not…
There are many that dismiss the quality of alcohol free wines outright without ever even trying them. Who knows? Approaching this with an open mind we might even find some that rival their alcoholic cousins.
We hope to prove those people wrong and show that at least a couple of them are worth giving a try.
So What Is the Best Non Alcoholic Wine?
Before we get into the details, please see our picks below. If you’re interested in reading why we chose these, please scroll down further and we have a little review for each.
|Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon Non Alcoholic Red Wine||Reverse Osmosis / Cold Filtration||Probably best non-alcoholic red wine out there. Doesn't taste exactly like red wine, but comes as close as you're gonna get with non-alcoholic wine.||$$$$||3.5|
|Ariel Chardonnay Non Alcoholic White Wine||Reverse Osmosis / Cold Filtration||One of the best non-alcoholic white wines out there. Less sweet compared to some of the others and worth a try.||$$$$||4.0|
|Sutter Home Fre White Zinfandel Non Alcoholic Wine||Distillation||A little tart, and less sweet than other non alcoholic wines. Paired with a light meal like chicken or pasta with white sauce is best.||$$$$||4.2|
|Sutter Home Fre Brut Non Alcoholic Wine||Distillation||Good alternative for alcoholic sparkling white wines that is reasonably priced as well.||$$$||4.0|
|Pure Vitis-Merlot Organic Grape Juice||Juice||Although not technically wine, this one is worth a try. A little too sweet for my taste, it may suit some.||$$$||3.0|
What is Non Alcoholic Wine?
Firstly of all, just to be clear, even though you will find many bottles of wine that are labeled as “non-alcoholic wine”, quite a number of them will still have a small percentage of alcohol in them.
This is because the starting point of making alcohol free wine is always an alcoholic wine. Turning this alcoholic drink into its non-alcoholic cousin involves adding another step in the production process (ie. the removal of alcohol), and it can sometimes be difficult to remove all of it.
In order for wine to qualify as being labeled as non-alcoholic, or any beverage for that matter, the federal laws require that it can only contain 0.5% of alcohol by volume.
Believe it or not, even naturally occurring fruit juices (such as orange juice) will generally also contain a very tiny percentage of alcohol. Beverages that don’t contain any alcohol at all are labeled as alcohol-free.
How Are Non Alcoholic Wines Made?
One of the most common ways to produce wine without alcohol content is through the process of distillation. For those of you that didn’t pay attention in Chemistry class, let me give you a quick recap.
Distillation involves applying heat to a liquid mixture (in this case the wine containing alcohol) and thereby separating the component substances (the alcohol) through evaporation.
In layman’s terms, since alcohol has a lower boiling point than the other substances in wine, it will evaporate before anything else does when you apply heat to it. This is how you are able to separate the wine and the alcohol.
This process is actually very similar to the process of making liquor, but instead of keeping the alcohol and throwing out the rest like you would do when making liquor, we now throw out the alcohol and keep what is left – the no alcohol wine.
The problem with the distillation process is that you have to apply a significant amount of heat to the wine which can result in a change of the other compounds within the wine as well. This can alter the taste profile, which is something we don’t want.
This is why vacuum distillation is often performed when making a wine without the alcohol. This process basically involves putting the wine under a vacuum resulting in the fact that much less heat is required to separate the alcohol from the wine. This, as a result, turns into a much better tasting wine that's free of alcohol.
The other process that can be used to make wine without alcohol is reverse osmosis or sometimes also referred to as the cold filtration process.
The advantage of this technique is that no heat is required but that the alcohol can basically be separated from the wine using a filter. In a nutshell, the wine passes through a filter with pores that are so small that they only allow the alcohol and water to pass through but nothing else. And voila… you end up with non-alcoholic wine.
The folks at Wine Folly have put together a great image on how the reverse osmosis process works in the production of non alcoholic wine.
Why Drink Non-Alcoholic Wines?
- They contain approximately a third of the calories of their alcoholic counterparts (generally around 60 calories per 8 OZ glass)
- You will still be able to enjoy a glass or two of wine but don’t have to worry about how to get home as you will be able to safely drive yourself
- Some studies say that non-alcoholic red wine actually is more effective at lowering blood pressure than alcoholic red wine
- It can be a good alternative for those that do not enjoy the effects of alcohol
How About the Taste?
Generally speaking, non-alcoholic wines don’t stand up to their alcoholic counterparts in terms of flavor and complexity.
This is especially true for non-alcoholic red wines. The taste is actually fine, but it doesn’t really resemble the flavor of a wine.
The reason behind this is because the alcohol content in a wine is generally the vehicle that brings all the aromas together and ultimately provides the mouth feel and “thickness” of the wine.
When this vehicle is gone, all these components are still there but they no longer have a delivery method. It’s like a football team without a captain. All the players are still there, but they have no idea what to do or where to go and are unlikely to make an impact.
The trick when drinking a non-alcoholic wine is just to approach it differently. You can’t go in there expecting it to taste exactly like the wine you are used to, however that doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyable. It’s about having an open mind when you taste it, and not expecting it to taste like wine that has alcohol in it.
Reviews of the Best Non Alcoholic Wines
Remember that comparison table at the start? Well, here are those wines in a bit more detail.
Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon Non Alcoholic Red WineAbout the Wine: The Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon is a top alcohol free red wine that is produced through the cold filtration process. This is probably one of the most popular non alcoholic red wines out there, and this is with good reason.
Even though it is extremely hard to come close to the profile and complexity of a red wine that contains alcohol, we felt this is the one that came closest out of all the ones that we tried.
Whether that is close enough or not, we’ll leave you to decide – as we mentioned before, it’s all about having the right mindset when trying a no alcohol wine and not expecting it to be exactly the same.
The wine has a good balance between desirable fruit characteristics, and goes well with red meat. It may be a tad thin in mouth feel compared to alcoholic wines that you’re used to, but it is definitely worth a try.
About the Producer: Ariel Wineries, a California based winery, started producing dealcoholized wines back in 1985 and it was one of the first of its kind.
Having been on the market this long, they have tremendous amounts of experience in making non alcoholic wine and they manage to come a little bit closer to their alcoholic counterparts as each year passes.
Most of the grapes that are used for Ariel’s wine come from the Central Californian Coast where they have access to J. Lohr’s 3,700 acres of vineyards which are all farmed sustainably.
Ariel Chardonnay Non Alcoholic White WineAbout the Wine: From the same producers as above, this wine is also produced using the cold filtration process. This means that the wine is initially made using traditional methods, and aged like a normal alcoholic wine would, with the alcohol being removed at the end.
When compared to an alcoholic chardonnay, this comes very close in the dry complexity you would expect in a normal wine. It is probably a little sweeter than its alcoholic cousin, but far less than the other non alcoholic wines out there which tend to be extremely sweet.
Similar to the above, taste it with an open mind and don’t expect it to be an exact substitute for alcoholic wine and you might enjoy it. It goes best with seafood and white meat dishes such as chicken, turkey, and other types of poultry.
About the Producers: This wine is also producer by Ariel Wineries. Please read the above review for more detail on Ariel Wineries in particular.
Sutter Home Fre White Zinfandel Non Alcoholic WineAbout the Wine: This White Zinfandel is another one worth trying. Although we personally feel that the quality of the Ariel wines are slightly superior, this brand comes in as a close second.
The process here is distillation where the alcohol is removed at the end – all the other steps are exactly the same as making a normal alcoholic wine.
The wine has a pale salmon color, and has a pretty fruity and fresh aroma with hints of strawberry and cranberries. It is great for use in making mocktails.
About the Producers: Sutter Home Fre Non Alcoholic Wines are also produced in California. Although established more recently than Ariel, Sutter Home Fre has won a number of prizes with their wines over the past couple of years. It wines are produced using reverse osmosis through the spinning cone technology.
Sutter Home Fre Brut Non Alcoholic Wine
About the Wine: We felt this list wouldn’t be complete without at least giving you a non alcoholic sparkling wine to choose from and the Brut from Sutter Home Fre is probably one of the better ones out there.
It boasts notes of green apples and ripe pears and is a great alternative for sophisticated alcoholic beverages that you may drink at celebrations or other festive events.
This particular wine contains a blend of pinot noir and chenin blanc, and is produced through distillation using the spinning cone process, similar to the wine above.
Another advantage is that it is a lot easier on the wallet than some of the normal sparkling wines out there, which may be just enough to convince you to give it a try. It can also be used to make your own mocktails, and is wonderful in this sparkling pomegranate cocktail.
About the Producer: This non alcoholic sparkling wine is also produced by Sutter Home Fre. Please read the review above for more information on the producer.
Pure Vitis Merlot Organic Grape JuiceAbout the Wine: Last on the list is a non alcoholic wine that isn’t technically a wine but we felt it deserved a spot.
It does not go through the same production process as the others with the alcohol being removed at the end; this beverage never contained any alcohol.
This means that from a taste and aroma standpoint it is probably the furthest away from all the others on the list. Some may call it glorified grape juice, but the good news with this is that you don’t go in there with the same expectation as the others and may be pleasantly surprised.
It is definitely one of the best grape juices out there and is made using all organic grapes and with no additives or preservatives. The bottle also makes it seem like you’re drinking wine, which makes it a good alternative for parties and gatherings.
About the Producer: Pure Vitis, based in California, is focused on producing the highest quality 100% organic grape juices.
It was established in 2012 and is based in the Ukiah Valley which is located a number of hours north of San Francisco. Their vineyards boast grapes that are 100% organic and on which no pesticides are used.
That Concludes Our Reviews of the Best Non Alcoholic Wines
At the end of the day, whether you enjoy an alcohol-less wine or not, it’s all about tasting them with an open mind.
If you are not expecting an exact replacement of alcoholic wines, you may be pleasantly surprised by how their non alcoholic counterparts measure up.
Alcohol plays a critical part in bringing all the flavors of wine together, and when this piece is missing, it’s very difficult to come up with exactly the same profile. But, this doesn’t mean that alcohol free wines can’t be enjoyable in their own way.
If you happen to try any of the wines that we reviewed above, please let us know what you thought about them. Also, if you feel that there are any that deserve a spot on the list above, give us a shout and we’ll be sure to try them out.