Updated: Jun 11, 2020
This appears to become another common question I'm asked, and understandably so as the phrase 'dealcoholised wine' gets thrown around a lot these days, yet the processes involved appear to be witchcraft to those outside the industry.
Before I explain dealcoholised wine, I should first explain that non-alcoholic wine does exist, as well as sparkling non-alcoholic wine, and these are different to dealcoholised wines. Non-alcoholic wine is partially-fermented grapes that have been removed from the processes before alcoholic fermentation can begin. This results in absolutely no alcohol being produced, but the wine retains a small amount of flavour and complexity. Some producers may elect to add herbal elements to add to the drinking experience, such as Belle & Co, which infuse their sparkling wines with tea leaves.
There are three main methods of dealcoholisation, each resulting in varying levels of complexity, flavour and alcohol. The first and easiest method is to use bacterial fermentation as opposed to yeast fermentation, which results in <0.5% alcohol being produced, and is often results in low-cost alternatives, but can contain residues of bacteria, which must be chemically removed. This results in a slightly bitter taste.
The option that a majority of vineyards elect to do (such as Torres, pictured below) is to allow a full fermentation, to then perform an operation known as reverse osmosis, where alcohol can be extracted. This allows the wine to retain its full flavour and complexity, and at a reasonable price.
Finally, alcohol can be produced and then removed by 'distillation in a vacuum', which allows components of the wine to be separated by density. The alcohol, being more dense than the pure grape juice, can be tapped off. This often leads to greater residual alcohol, but also greater depth of palate. This allows the wine to become more full-bodied and a better comparison to some heavier wines, but at a slightly higher cost.
Here at Vino Fine, we're committed to purchasing only the highest quality dealcoholised wines for you to enjoy.
To explore our range of dealcoholised wines and dealcoholised sparkling wines, visit our store at vinofine.co.uk/shop and have our wines delivered straight to your door.