A Non-Alcoholic Wine Guide to Prepare for Dry January and Beyond

Dry-January is right around the corner and there is much to do to prepare for the month ahead. As Dry-January goes, non-alcoholic spirits are abuzz, yet the market is very much unexplored and vast. If you pursue choosing options for your Dry January Non-Alcoholic spirits, knowing the right choices and options is important for you. One of the best options for you is to purchase excellent selections of non-alcoholic wine. But, which is the best one to buy? What are alcohol-free wines? Are Alcohol-Free Drinks really Alcohol-Free? This and many more questions like this we seek to answer for you as you embark on your exploration of the best non-alcoholic drinks that you can purchase for Dry January.

This Guide will help you with understanding the process of creation of non-alcoholic spirits, what non alcoholic wine is made with, and choosing the best things for your Dry January plans. From selecting options for sobering friends to pairing with the right food options, we got you covered. 

Chapter 1:

What are Non-Alcoholic Wines?

The first question in our mind is what even are non-alcoholic drinks right?  Non-alcoholic spirits, often referred to as temperance drinks, usually constitute leaves, roots, spices, and flowers and are made from these forms and other types of botanicals. The major magic boils down to how they are distilled that retain within them the flavors of an alcoholic drink as a perfect imitation.

Many non-alcoholic brands advertise their non-alcoholic drinks as spirits, but how can something without alcohol be a spirit? The answer lies within the low content of alcohol in the drink which is sometimes around 0.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) for most of the non-alcoholic beverages and drinks that you would find in the market. When the sellers use the term ‘spirit’ they are more inclined towards quantifying or satisfying the replacement of the alcoholic counterpart of that drink.

When the base liquors are obtained using different distillation techniques, different types are found for usage as non alcoholic spirits and one such methodology is used to make non alcoholic wine. A non-alcoholic wine distillation process can be used to regulate its alcohol content, by increasing or decreasing it.

Types of Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Non-Alcoholic Drinks are segregated as per the desired alcohol content and other ingredients that are put into them. There are segregations into different domains in relation to non-alcoholic drinks emulation of different alcoholic beverages as well. There are many distinct products that we have known which are under the classification of non-alcoholic beverages. Some non-alcoholic drinks that we can list include Soda, Carbonated Drinks, Mocktails, Non-Alcoholic Beer, Non-Alcoholic Wine, Mocktails, and more.

Differences Between Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Discussing Alcoholic And Non-Alcoholic Drinks brings forward many questions especially about discussing the validity of calling non-alcoholic drinks spirits. One of the major questions that many ask is whether non-alcoholic wine is just a more expensive grape juice. Yet this is certainly not the case. In spite of the many claims for this issue, the answer needs a bit more deep diving to get to the root of the matter. There are many differences between non-alcoholic drinks and juices. The main difference that you can consider is the production method of both of these. When considering the similarities and differences between alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine, the profile of both drinks is more similar except that they have different levels of alcohol contents. Both are produced in the same way between alcoholic and non-alcoholic wines and other forms of spirits. The only additional step in the production method is that the alcohol is removed from the non-alcoholic wine.

Yet, in grape juices, the unfermented juice of the grapes are used. Without fermentation, there is no production of alcohol or any similarities with their alcoholic or non-alcoholic wine counterparts.

During the production of alcohol-free wine as the process begins, there are many similar steps as with alcoholic wine. Grapes are first taken from vineyards, either by machines or by hand. Grapes are chosen on the basis of their quality and the moment when we have these grapes harvested their determination of flavor profiles is conducted for the wine (or juice) as per the acidity, taste, and sweetness of the grapes. Post this harvest process the winery transports these and sorts these grapes into different groups.

When the selection process for converting the grapes to wines or juices are completed they are then destemmed and crushed in mechanical presses. When we are creating a particular form of juice or wine, their individual processes might change the outcome of the crushing process of the grapes. Here also the distinguishing factors between red and white wine become more evident as the changes in the process start out. During this stage of production, the  non-alcoholic wine and juice are in a nice liquid grape juice formulation that is freshly squeezed.

In the next step, grape juice and alcohol-free wine or alcoholic wine are treated differently. Both the alcohol and alcohol-free wine are sent through a fermentation process. The natural sugars in the grape juices are converted slowly into alcohol. The juice's fermentation starts naturally within 6-12 hours; yet, winemakers at this point also add commercial yeast that increases the efficiency of the process and the consistency of the wine.

The fermentation process is continued by the winemakers till the sugars in the juice are converted into alcohol. Different types of wine and non-alcoholic wine on the basis of their flavor profile undergo fermentation anywhere between 10 days to more than a period of a month.

Chapter 2:

The Challenges and Advancements in Non-Alcoholic Wine

Non-alcoholic wine use cases are increasing in this period. Yet, there are still multiple steep challenges and considerations that are paramount in the conversations involving Non-alcoholic wines. Many alcohol producers and even regulatory bodies and other agencies categorically have challenges that are associated in different phases with the process and constituency of the product.

But Non-Alcoholic wine has many important and necessary use cases and needs. That is an important consideration considering many developments we saw throughout the previous years in the pandemic. Due to challenges, boredom, anxiety, and other reasons, the number of people consuming alcohol increased during the pandemic. A study conducted recently on 11 major OECD countries saw 36% of the respondents highlight an increase in their alcohol consumption during the pandemic lockdowns. In these studies parents who have young children, women, and higher-income individuals saw the most drastic increase in consumption of alcohol.

There are many potential solutions including limiting marketing to young audiences, and removal of potential content promoting alcohol products from sensitive zones. Pricing policies, and accessibility of alcohol, policing are other measures, yet there is an easier solution.

Wine with low or zero alcohol content is a great alternative to this conundrum. Many alcoholic beverages have been seeing success with this approach, especially among millennials. No, and low-alcohol (NoLo) beverages represent 3% of the global beverage alcohol market in ten headline economies, which though marginal is a significant statistic in an evolving market space. The 2020 period saw global sales reach values of $4,520 million.

There are however considerations of legitimacy and production that leads to many shadows over non-alcoholic wine. Let's go over a few of these issues.

The Issue With Legitimacy

Dealcoholized wines is those that have had some or all of their alcohol content removed during the production process. This can be done by evaporation, reverse osmosis, or simply by halting the fermentation process.

The most difficult part of the process is removing the alcohol from the wine without affecting its flavor. These other steps are quite simple to carry out. A lot of headway has been made in this area, but de-alcoholized wine does not yet taste exactly the same as conventional wine, and it does not provide a viable alternative. There has been a lot of work made in this regard.

Could we continue to refer to a product that has had some or all of its alcohol removed as "wine" even if it tastes identical to the genuine thing, even if it has had some or all of its alcohol removed? According to the findings of our study that was conducted in 2019, the amount of alcohol that is contained in a product has an impact on how consumers classify that product. Only a small percentage of people who participated in our survey recognized low-alcohol wine as a type of wine.

Under different research that is still in progress, we will identify the boundaries of what may be considered acceptable about this new product. Due to the fact that two-thirds of prospective customers feel that the amount of alcohol in a product is an essential characteristic, they are of the opinion that this new product does not in any way fall into the "wine" category.

Regulations are another factor that might influence legitimacy. For instance, according to the legislation in France, wine is defined as "a drink that originates only from the complete or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes (crushed or not) or from grape must," and it must have an alcohol concentration of more than 8.5%.

If you remove the alcohol, the product can no longer be deemed wine under current legal standards.

The Problem Of Categorization

Wine is not even close to being the first product of its kind to struggle with classification problems in this way.

Regulations in Europe specify that "milk" refers to "the output of the milking of one or more cows." This definition applies to the label as well. In 2017, in response to claims from dairy producers that such labels would confuse consumers, the European Court of Justice enforced this regulation by prohibiting the use of the words "milk" and "cheese" to refer to plant-based versions of these products. This prohibition was in place to prevent the use of the words "milk" and "cheese" to refer to plant-based versions of these products.

But when it comes to meat, the European Parliament has voted to allow the use of terminology akin to meat to describe foods that are plant-based. This decision will take effect in 2020. As a consequence of this, the phrases "veggie burgers," "soy steaks," and "vegan sausages" are all acceptable to use within the European Union.

One country that does not adhere to this rule is France. There, the legislation makes it quite clear that terms normally applied to foods derived from animals cannot be used to denote items that are comprised of vegetable proteins.

Production Issues and More

The demand from customers for items that contain no alcohol or only a trace amount of it is growing. Only in the United States did sales of low-alcohol beverages climb by about 20 percent over the course of the previous year, while sales of alcohol-free beverages grew by nearly twice as much. The market for beverages with no or low levels of alcohol is presently worth close to $2 billion, which represents very little but quickly growing one percent of the entire beverage alcohol industry.

Although the diverse nature of wine, beer, and spirits means that the average quality of lower-alcohol alternatives tends to fluctuate across categories, the industry is responding accordingly by researching more quality-driven production methods and investing in technological innovation across all types of drinks. This is being done in an effort to meet the demand for lower-alcohol alternatives.

Because the tastes and smells of wine are frequently bolstered by a sizeable quantity of alcohol—typically between 12% and 14.5% ABV—the elimination of alcohol entirely has a significant influence on the consistency of the liquid as well as the liquid's overall equilibrium. Beer, on the other hand, begins with a substantially lower alcohol level, which means that there is simply less to take away in order to generate a product with a lower alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage. In addition, while grape juice is the only component of wine, highly scented hops, which are used in the production of beer, can help conceal any undesirable aftertastes that may be caused by the process of de-alcoholization. This is in contrast to wine, which is made entirely of grape juice.

Because of the significant ways in which it diverges from the traditional method of producing wine, the development of non-alcoholic variations provides a unique challenge for producers. The wines each offer a unique sensory experience, making them distinct goods in that regard as well.

A beverage is considered alcohol-free if it contains no more than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume, which is the case with alcohol-free wine. However, alcohol is a crucial preventive agent against dangerous microorganisms, such as yeasts and bacteria, in wine. This is the case since alcohol is a component of a wine. This indicates that non-alcoholic versions of the beverage will be prone to the growth of the aforementioned bacteria, and as a result, they will always run the danger of becoming unstable. As a consequence of this, the burden of preserving the microbiological stability of alcohol-free wine until the time of bottling and beyond falls on the shoulders of the filtering process.

Filterability And Bacterial Load In The Production Process

In the course of their respective master's theses, Sven Horter (Hochschule Geisenheim University) and Felix Marzolph investigated not only the capacity of alcohol-free wines to be filtered, but also the microbiological characteristics of thesis wines (Weincampus Neustadt). The purpose of these scholarly publications was to evaluate a variety of alcohol-free wines with regard to their filter index as well as their total bacterial count. In addition, both pieces of research investigated which stages of filtering would result in a microbiologically stable product.

The manufacturing and filtration process was put through its paces in a series of eight steps during the test. These steps included the tanker, the de-alcoholization process, subsequent tank storage, and the filtration process, which included crossflow storage filtration (CFF), intermediate tank storage, and two-stage fine and final filtration.

Chapter 3:

Why should you get some Non-Alcoholic Wine this Dry January and Beyond?

What is Dry January

January is a time for New Year's resolutions and hard questions about the year ahead. More individuals are also cutting back on booze in January. Dry January encourages alcohol abstinence for 31 days.

The U.K. group Alcohol for Change launched the challenge in 2013. Dry January has become a cultural phenomenon since its initial 4,000 participants. A Morning Consult study found that over 20% of U.S. consumers want to do the monthlong alcohol detox in 2022.

Dry January may reset after Christmas excesses. According to a 2019 University of Sussex research, individuals take on the challenge to improve their health, lose weight, prove themselves, and save money.

Reducing alcohol intake has been shown to enhance sleep, blood pressure, and liver disease risk. Dry January effectiveness? Nutritionist Keri Gans, MS RDN CDN, says benefits depend on how much you drank before January. The CDC considers one drink per day moderate drinking for women and two for men. Gans believes those who drink more are more likely to experience improvements.

Dry January might help you assess your relationship with alcohol and improve your behavior. The 2019 University of Sussex study indicated that 81% of Dry January participants felt more "in control" of their drinking following the challenge. Non-Alcoholic Wines are a great way that you can promote and continue this challenge.

Chapter 4:

What are the things to consider when purchasing Non-Alcoholic Wines for Dry January and Beyond

Things to Keep in Mind During Your Selection

Check for these things when you consider buying for Dry January and generally:

  1. Legitimacy of the Producer
  2. Verification and Certification Of Contents Of The Non-Alcoholic Wine
  3. Seller Or Retailer And The Veracity Of The Platform Where You Are Purchasing From
  4. Any Additives Or Other Potential Involvements That You Are Better Being Aware Of
  5. The Type Of Product Listed As Non-Alcoholic Spirit
  6. Storage Requirements Of The Products
  7. Actual Alcohol Content In The Products
  8. Comparative Prices
  9. Any Other Regulatory Advisories And Details That You Need To Be Aware Of

Chapter 5:

How to Pair Non-Alcoholic Wine with Food

Well, spirits tasted best with meals right? But fret not, the non alcoholic wine recipes, and different food pairing options ensure that the non-alcoholic wine does not fall behind. There are ample choices for your diligence in different forms of food for consumption.

Does Non-Alcoholic Wine Taste Bad With Any Food?

The game is all in the pairing. If you do not pair alcohol properly with the right foods the compliment is ruined. Similarly in non-alcoholic drinks, there is a requirement for you to be careful with the pairing process of different times of alcohol-free drinks with food. Read more to find out the best methods to do just this!

Best Dishes to Try with Non-Alcoholic Wine

An excellent glass of wine with lunch, hors d'oeuvres, or dinner doesn't require alcohol. Like alcoholic wines, matching rules apply for alcohol-free spirits like non-alcoholic wines. Basic norms and specific ideas are below.

Pair Lighter Food With Lighter Wines

Choose still or sparkling white or rose wine with shellfish, white fish, light poultry, or salads. Citrusy and herbal tastes will enhance the dish.

Pair Spicy With A Little Sweet Tasting Wine

A sweeter wine complements spicy Asian food. Sugar reduces spice. You don't need a dessert wine—just something sweeter.

Richer Wines Go Best With Heartier Dishes

Red meat, roast pork chops, or grilled tuna shouldn't overshadow your non-alcoholic wine. Choose a red or heartier rose wine to match the food's stronger tastes.

Chapter 6:

Here Are A Selection of Few Good Alcohol-Free Drinks for When You're Not Drinking for Whatever Reason

You’ve now come to decide to purchase some non-alcoholic wines, but are confused about what to buy? We got you covered with our elaborate selections and analysis of the best products that you can get.

Our Top Picks

Here are our top 5 picks for Non-Alcoholic Rose wine alternatives:

  1. Noughty Dealcoholized Sparkling Rosé
  2. Grüvi Bubbly Sampler
  3. Wander+ Found Rose
  4. AF Wine Variety Pack
  5. Surely Wine | Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Rosé Wine

Here are our top 7 picks for Non-Alcoholic Red wine alternatives:

  1. Luminara Non-Alcoholic Napa Red Blend 2019
  2. Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon
  3. Noughty Dealcholized Rouge
  4. Hill Street Vin (Zero) Cabernet Sauvignon
  5. Wander + Found Pinot Noir
  6. Luminara Non-Alcoholic Napa Red Blend 2018
  7. Zeero Sangiovese

Here are our top 7 picks for Non-Alcoholic White wine alternatives:

  1. Giesen Sauvignon Blanc
  2. Luminara Non-Alcoholic Chardonnay 2018
  3. Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling
  4. Grüvi Dry Secco Prosecco
  5. Ariel Chardonnay
  6. Surely Sauvignon Blanc
  7. Hand on Heart Chardonnay

Here are our top 7 picks for Non-Alcoholic sparkling wine alternatives:

  1. Noughty Dealcoholized Sparkling Chardonnay
  2. Noughty Dealcoholized Sparkling Rosé
  3. Grüvi Bubbly
  4. Grüvi Dry Secco Prosecco
  5. French Bloom Le Blanc
  6. Hill Street Vin (Zero) Brut Blanc
  7. Surely Wine

There are many more options as well if you wish to try more alcohol-free spirits.

In Summation

Dry January is a great selection of a challenge to ensure that you keep checks on your alcohol, but even beyond and in other situations, with non-drinkers, a selection of non-alcoholic wines is a great choice! Choose your non-alcoholic wine pairings and enjoy a superb delicacy or match!