The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Talking point. Non Alcoholic Wines


A friend of mine has just asked me a question regarding Non Alcoholic wines. Being a teetotaller, she experiences the same problems that every other non drinker has. The main being the overall quality and availability of top quality, alcohol free wines. 

She was asking me what are the pros and cons with Non Alcoholic wines?

How does removing the alcohol affect the wine?

Does the removal process alter the aromas and taste of the wines?

Do we, the professionals as well as the consumer, understand enough about alcohol free wines?

Now, to my shame, having spent 16 years in the wine trade, I don’t really know a great deal regarding the topic.

Errr...I don't know!

I think that it would be fair to say that, when it comes to alcohol free wines, you could fit what I know on the back of a postage stamp.

Amongst the various stores I’ve managed I don’t get asked about Non Alcohol wines too often. I get more requests for alcohol free beers. Because of this I’ve never taken the time out to read up on the subject or taste any at trade events. I tend to get led by personal interest and what I believe is good for my store and customers.

Am I missing a trick here?

According to the Nielsen report for 2010, £14 million pounds was spent in the UK on low alcohol – alcohol free wines. Now compare that to the £5.2 billion spent on the light wine market in the UK off trade, a bit of a difference.

For a wine or beer to be classified as alcohol free it has to contain no more than 0.05% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and for low alcohol no more than 1.2% ABV. That is the extent of what I know. Postage stamp.

Here’s a bit of a contradictory of terms too. Under UK trading standards, wines under 8% ABV cannot be classed or labelled as wine.

I remember the likes of Eisberg and Concorde. Sitting, collecting dust on the shelves. Bland, watery, synthetic in taste. Not overly inspiring wines, but am I scarred by the poor choices available of years gone by? 

How have things changed?

Help me to understand and maybe have a clearer, better opinion of the alcohol free market?

Help me to answer the questions set at the top of the page?

What do you think?

Lots of questions.

Click on the link below for a piece on low alcohol Black Tower


2 comments on “Talking point. Non Alcoholic Wines

  1. Lyndsey Daley
    July 7, 2011

    I havent got the answers to you questions, what I do know is there is a big rise of the non alcoholic phenomena. My sister recently got married to a teetotaller who insisted on having non alcoholic drinks at the wedding..not the usual carbonated drinks but specifically a non alcoholic champagne. I was quite amazed when they had a non alcoholic sparkling champagne ‘mallinazero’ on all the tables – I couldnt tell the difference to be honest (though after a few glasses I was still sober of course… sadly for me 🙂 as I love my drink !!


    • Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.
      July 7, 2011

      It is difficult. Since I posted this I’ve been doing more research and there really isn’t a great deal of info out there.
      I guess it’s a case of trial and error.
      There hasn’t been a system yet perfected to create a range of ‘positive’ non alcoholic wines. The current methods available unfortunately strip the flavour away as well as the alcohol.
      I’m sure technology will catch up one day.
      We’ll just have to wait and see.

      Out of curiosity, what was the name of the bubbly you drank?

      Thanks for your comment.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on May 23, 2011 by in Your questions, your comments, your say..

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,411 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 76,100 hits
%d bloggers like this: