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Insight of the Day: The Broken Promise of Nonalcoholic Wine

The War on Wine: A Critique of Non-Alcoholic Wine

Key Arguments:

  • Non-Alcoholic Wine is an Oxymoron: The author argues that non-alcoholic wine is a contradiction because wine's essence and historical significance are rooted in its alcohol content. Removing alcohol essentially reduces it to "weird grape juice."

  • Production is Complex and Environmentally Questionable:  The production methods for non-alcoholic wine involve elaborate industrial processes like vacuum distillation, reverse osmosis, and spinning cone technology, which are energy-intensive and potentially detrimental to the environment.

  • Taste and Mouthfeel are Compromised:  Removing alcohol strips wine of its flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel, which are largely derived from esters formed during fermentation. To compensate, producers add sugar and glycerol, affecting the overall taste and potentially negating any health benefits.

  • Health Claims are Misleading:  The author questions the health halo surrounding non-alcoholic wine, arguing that claims of its superiority to regular wine are dubious and lack scientific backing. While it may have fewer calories, the added sugar and glycerol raise concerns.

  • Alternative Solutions Exist: Instead of resorting to non-alcoholic wine, the author suggests exploring low-alcohol wines like Vinho Verde, Riesling, and rosés from southwestern France, which offer a similar taste experience with lower alcohol content.


The article takes a strong stance against non-alcoholic wine, criticizing its production methods, taste, and misleading health claims. It argues for a more nuanced approach to enjoying wine, emphasizing moderation and exploring lower-alcohol options for those concerned about health or wanting to reduce alcohol intake.


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