How is Non-Alcoholic Wine Made?
People may be drinking NA wine for a lot of reasons. Regardless of motivation, we think it’s important to know what’s in the bottle. While typical wine producers aren’t required to share what’s in their wine (Washington Post) (when is the last time you saw a nutrition facts panel or ingredient list on a wine bottle?) consumers are looking for that transparency (Wine Industry Advisor). At Studio Null, the goal is to empower people to live life on their own terms, which means we label all of of our non-alcoholic wine with exactly what’s in each bottle.
So how is non-alcoholic wine made?
The short answer:
- We source premium grapes from European vineyards that are harvested and fermented into full-alcohol, real wine
- Then we dealcoholize that full-alcohol wine via a process called vacuum distillation to preserve maximum aroma, body and flavor
- Our team of dealcoholization experts calibrates the resulting non-alcoholic wine at bottling to express the varietals without artificial ingredients or flavors
- Finally, we include full nutritional and ingredient sourcing information right on our labels
Read on for the longer answer.
What is non-alcoholic wine?
Non-alcoholic wine can be a few things but ours is most simply wine with the alcohol removed, also known as dealcoholized wine.
Depending on the country you’re in, non-alcoholic wine can be defined differently. In the U.S., where Studio Null is based, the FDA classifies non-alcoholic beverages as beverages containing no more than 0.5% alcohol.
Dealcoholized, non-alcoholic wine starts as regular wine, with grapes that are harvested, pressed, and fermented into wine.
Choosing the right grape varietals is key, as they determine the flavor profile of the final product. Like in traditional winemaking, winemakers look for the right balance of flavors, sugars, and acids.
Then, using a proven process — reverse osmosis, vacuum distillation or spinning cones — the alcohol is removed from the wine, and the flavor is rebuilt by experts to replicate the full-alcoholic wine. That can include tannins, preservatives, sweeteners, and other flavorings.
Making non alcoholic wine, no matter which dealcoholization technique is used, is different from making unfermented grape juice or other alcohol-free beverages, which may include tea, juice, verjus (juice from unripened wine grapes, which contains no alcohol as it’s not fermented), or other ingredients.
Studio Null wine always starts as traditional, full-alcohol wine and is then dealcoholized.
How is alcohol removed from wine?
The goal in making dealcoholized, non-alcoholic wine is to preserve the character of the origin wine while removing its alcohol. There are generally two ways to do this:
Heat evaporates ethanol (which is why you can boil wine on the stove to remove its alcohol — though we can’t recommend the taste). The vacuum distillation method works by applying heat under a pressurized force. The pressure drops the boiling point so that the alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature, preserving more of the wine’s flavor and aroma.
In this method, wine is filtered through a fine membrane at high pressure. The filter separates the alcohol from other elements of the wine. Then the high-alcohol output is distilled and remixed with the non-alcoholic output. With multiple passes through the membrane required to remove the alcohol, this can be a labor- and resource-intensive process.
How much alcohol is in non-alcoholic wine?
Studio Null’s non-alcoholic wines carry an FDA-required statement of “contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume,” with typical levels coming in at 0.3% alcohol by volume (ABV) or less for our wines. For comparison, ripe bananas can have 0.3% ABV, kombucha contains 1-2% ABV, and full-strength wine typically contains 11-15% ABV.
In summary: how is non-alcoholic wine made?
From selecting and fermenting the right grapes to removing alcohol and balancing flavor, winemakers and dealcoholization experts combine artistry with scientific precision to create delicious, complex non-alcoholic wine. Studio Null aims to create NA wine that provides an elevated, gastronomic experience without the alcohol.
If you have further questions, recommended reading, or NA news we simply must hear, we’d love to talk — drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you.