So, what is non-alcoholic wine, exactly? Doesn’t wine become grape juice when the alcohol is removed? Is it the same thing as being alcohol-free or de-alcoholized? Yes. When it comes to wine or beverages that have had the alcohol removed, all three phrases can be used interchangeably. Non-alcoholic wine, alcohol-free, and dealcoholized all suggest there is little to no alcohol in the wine—0.0 percent alcohol by volume—though the names can have slightly varied connotations depending on what they refer to and what nation you are in.
Isn’t grape juice what happens when you take the alcohol out of wine? It’s a little more complicated than that. Making alcohol-free wine isn’t all that different from ordinary winemaking. First, grapes are hand-harvested or machine-harvested from the vineyard. The wine’s acidity, sweetness, and flavour are all determined by when the grapes are picked. After the grapes are picked, they are transported to the winery and separated into bunches, with rotting or under-ripe grapes discarded.
How is the wine made?
The grapes are then put through a de-stemmer before being crushed by a mechanical press, which improves the wine’s sanitation and durability. This is where red and white wines differ. The grapes are quickly crushed and pressed to separate the juice from the skins, seeds, and sediments in white wines. This stops the wine from absorbing any undesirable colour or tannins. On the other hand, red wine grapes are left in touch with their skins to gain more flavour, colour, and tannins, which help make the wine dry and bitter.
The fermentation procedure follows after that. When carbohydrates in grape juice are transformed into alcohol, this is known as fermentation. When wild yeasts are present in the air, the juice can start fermenting naturally within 6-12 hours; however, most winemakers intervene and use commercial yeast to assure consistency. The fermentation process is repeated until all of the sugar has been transformed into alcohol. Winemakers will stop the production before all of the sugar turns to alcohol in sweeter wines. Depending on the wine, fermentation might take anything from ten days to a month or more.
This wine goes through the same ageing process as alcoholic wine. This method entirely depends on the type of wine that the winemaker desires to manufacture. Ageing the wine enhances the taste and can be done in various ways, including glass bottles, stainless steel tanks, and oak barrels. The maturing type and how long it takes impact the wine’s quality and flavour. Some white wines require a few months of ageing, while many dry red wines require 18-24 months of ageing before bottling.
The extraction of alcohol from wine using steam is known as distillation. In another way, commercial producers vacuum-seal the wine and then heat it. The wine’s boiling temperature decreases as the vacuum’s suction increases. This allows winemakers to heat the wine to temperatures as low as 70 degrees Fahrenheit, effectively distilling the alcohol from the wine without causing it to deteriorate.
Filtration, often known as reverse osmosis, is the second process for eliminating alcohol. Winemakers employ enormous pressure to drive the wine against a membrane that is so thin that only water and alcohol can pass through it. They keep repeating this procedure until the wine has turned into a concentrate. In order to make the alcohol-free wine, water is poured back into the concentration.
The wine is ready to be bottled and consumed once the alcohol has been removed. Winemaking is a beautiful and interesting procedure, and non-alcoholic wine making takes it a step further to create a product that appeals to a more extensive range of people.