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Alcohol-Free Wine Guide

Alcohol-Free Wine Guide

Are you wondering if you can still enjoy wine if it’s alcohol-free? The answer is yes, and you’ll be delighted to know that you won’t have to compromise on quality or flavour either.

Here at Wise Bartender, we believe that alcohol-free wine can be savoured by all, even if you haven't considered it before, or are struggling to find a wine pairing that tickles your taste buds,  why not give our tips a go?

What is alcohol-free wine? 

Alcohol-free wine is wine that has a low ABV (alcohol by volume) level. Although it still contains alcohol, the percentage is so tiny that it’s officially counted as not being there.

This is nothing to worry about.

There are 3 different levels of ‘low alcohol’ wine:

  1. Alcohol-free wine: wine that contains no more than 0.05% ABV
  2. De-alcoholised wine: wine that contains no more than 0.5% ABV
  3. Low alcohol wine: wine that contains no more than 1.2% ABV

Commonly, people refer to de-alcoholised wine as alcohol-free as they fall under a similar category bracket. For the purposes of making this blog easier to understand, we’re going to do the same thing.

How is alcohol-free wine made? 

How is alcohol-free wine made

Alcohol-free wine still goes through the process of fermentation with yeast, just like alcoholic wine. In fact, the start of the process is exactly the same.

Grapes are plucked from their vines, quality inspected and then crushed until the juice is fully released. It is then loaded into tanks with yeast which consumes the natural sugars to create alcohol. This mixture is left to ferment for 5-7 days before it is removed, pressed and blended.

It’s after fermentation that the alcohol is removed in alcohol-free wine through filtration, distillation and other methods.

This is because fermentation is pretty much vital to creating the quality, texture and balance of flavour that makes people fall in love with wine.

So, what you pour into your glass is wine, but without the alcohol.

Alcohol-Free Wine Options

Now that we’ve got the technical bit out of the way, let’s talk flavour.

Wine connoisseurs will know that wine from different regions, made with different types of grapes and different production techniques will taste completely different to each other: this is exactly the same in alcohol-free wine.

Alcohol-free wine can vary from velvety, rich reds to crisp, fruity whites and even sparkling wines that act as a remarkable substitute for champagne.

Wine Pairings 

Wine Pairings

Wine and cheese pairings:

If you’re a total wine pairing novice, here are some general tips to follow when it comes to matching cheese to wine:

  1. Match intensity of flavour. For example, a rich, full bodied red wine will pair more cohesively with a more pungent cheese
  2. Follow the ‘opposites attract’ rule and pair contrasting qualities like sweet and sour or sweet and salty
  3. Sparkling drinks have a habit of cutting through rich tasting cheeses
  4. Wine and cheese from the same country tend to pair very naturally together as they are created using regional flavours profiles

Our suggestions:

  1. Match a velvety brie with the sweet, berry flavours or Oddbird Domaine de la Prade Merlot Shiraz Organic Alcohol Free Red Wine
  2. Ebony Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Alcohol Free Red Wine is a delightful accompaniment for the crumbly, tangy flavours of blue cheese, or even an smoky edam
  3. Nutty swiss cheese is great to try with a sweet sparkling wine like Hardys Alcohol Free Chardonnay
Wine and cheese pairings

Wine and chocolate

Eating chocolate with your favourite tipple is one of life’s great pleasures, and swapping between sipping alcohol-free wine and nibbling on a chocolatey confection is simply swoony.

Try matching dark chilli chocolate with a riesling such as De Bortoli The Very Cautious Riesling Alcohol Free White Wine and wait for the flavours to explode on your tongue.

White chocolate is best sampled with a rosé because the classic floral and fruity flavours of this pink treat counterbalances the almost sickly sweet nature of white chocolate. It’s why white chocolate is so often eaten with berries. It just so happens that Black Tower Deliciously Light Low Alcohol Rosé Wine is packed with hints of strawberry and sour blackberry, so is definitely worth trying with our Raspberry and White Chocolate Bar.

Or you could pick up our Belle & Co Wine and Choc Gift Pack to mix and match white chocolate with sparkling wine and rosé to help you find your niche.

Wine and Fish

If ever in doubt about which wine to drink with your fish-based meal, opt for white because it compliments the delicate texture and flavour of white fish. Not only that, but white fish meat is naturally oily, and these oils are known to react with tannins in red wine to create a tinny flavour.

Our top picks for white fish:

So we’ve established that white wine suits white fish meat but with a meatier, fattier fish like a tuna steak, try a full-bodied red or rosé to really draw out the best in your seafood spread.

Wine and Fish

Wine and Meat

The general rule for pairing alcohol-free wine with meat is as follows:

  1. Match white meat with white wine like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
  2. Match red meat with red wine Pinot Noir or Merlot

However, the brand of wine you choose will depend on the overall dish. For example, if you’re making spicy pork on a bed of sticky oriental veg, you’ll want a medium-bodied white wine that doesn’t overbear the punch of chilli. For example, Château del ISH, Sparkling White 750ml Bottle, which is distinctly citrus, sits splendidly alongside an aromatic meal with plenty of heat.

Wine and Pasta 

The most important thing to consider when pairing alcohol-free wine with pasta is the sauce. Pasta dishes vary greatly so there is no one size fits all flavour that suits them all.

Here are some sauce and wine pairings that we think you should try:

Classic Italian butter sauce: For this simple yet stunning sauce that is beloved by many, choose Oddbird Alcohol Free Spumante from Trevisco in Italy, commonly known as Prosecco region because a delicate sauce should never be overpowered by a delicate wine.

Tomato sauceJosé Maria da Fonseca Original Syrah Alcohol Free Red Wine brings the gorgeous marriage of ripe tomato and tangy olive oil to life.

Creamy pasta sauce: This sauce is always partnered with a light and dry white wine such as a Chardonnay. Something like a Saicho Jasmine Cold Brew Tea Alcohol Free Wine Alternative could be your ticket to serving up a meal that sings.

Pesto: Another Italian classic that tastes divine with a crowd favourite: the chardonnay. Any of the alcohol-free wines found in our White Wine Wise Pack are worth trying with the nutty basil delicacy.

Wine and Fruit

Wine and Fruit

A combination as old as time; wine and fruit takes its place prominently in Renaissance paintings for a reason. But what are the best pairings?

The best alcohol-free wines to drink with fruit really depend on your palate. For example, if you have a sweet tooth then you might prefer to drink syrupy dessert wines with fruit, or if you relish savoury flavours then laying out a cheese board for your fruit and cracking open a bottle of dry red could be more to your liking.

For a beginner, this can seem daunting but trust us when we say that half the fun is in the trying. Get a group of friends over, create a platter of fruits like melon, berries and pears and stock up on alcohol-free wine.

Once you find that combination that makes you close your eyes and sigh, you’ll never go back.

If we’ve piqued your curiosity and you’re considering sampling alcohol-free wine for yourself, take a look at our wide range of red winewhite winesparkling wine and rosé. If you’re still not sure where to begin, we’ve got just the thing for you: Wine Packs from Wise Bartender are pre-packed selections so that you can sample our choice of top wines and find a new favourite.