The Benefits Of Switching To Dealcoholized Wine

Moderate wine drinking is often associated with a handful of health benefits. But can dealcoholized wine also be credited with such advantages?

Since non-alcoholic wines start as regular wines, they retain the polyphenols and other antioxidants that may help reduce heart-related diseases, cancer, obesity, etc. Aside from physical benefits, dealcoholized wines are also helpful in improving mental health.

This blog post will explain the underlying benefits of dealcoholized wine, how it started, and where it’s heading. Read on if you want more knowledge about this type of wine or a healthier lifestyle!

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What is Dealcoholized Wine?

Bottle of Ariel Premium Dealcoholized Wine on a table

Bottle of Ariel Premium Dealcoholized Wine on a table – Image by Cheese and Wine Oz

In simple terms, “dealcoholized” means removing alcohol from a drink. It may be a complete reduction of ethanol in wine or just a majority of it.

There are three ways of dealcoholization: vacuum distillation, reverse osmosis, and spinning cone or centrifugal force. These processes involve carefully applying heat, filtration, or motion to remove the alcohol while retaining the wine’s flavors and aromas.

The word “non-alcoholic” is usually used interchangeably with “dealcoholized.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes both terms as denoting drinks with less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).

“Non-alcoholic” may be misleading because wines labeled as such are not entirely free from alcohol. Fruit juices and soft drinks are known as non-alcoholic beverages, but they contain traces of less than 0.5% alcohol that comes from natural fermentation or flavoring extracts.

This is why dealcoholized wines can be called “non-alcoholic” since their alcohol content is below the 0.5% threshold despite starting as fermented beverages.

FDA allows companies to label alcohol-free wines as “non-alcoholic” in addition to “dealcoholized” because of the threshold mentioned. However, omitting “dealcoholized” and just putting “non-alcoholic” is prohibited because this could mislead customers.

“Dealcoholized” emphasizes that the wine has been stripped of its alcohol. If the label states “non-alcoholic,” people may interpret the drink as a type of unfermented grape juice.

Health Benefits of Dealcoholized Wines

Regular and non-alcoholic wines are very similar in terms of their health benefits since the latter is essentially made of fermented grape juice without alcohol. Here are some advantages you can reap from drinking dealcoholized wine.

Helps lower blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases

Sphygmomanometer with a bottle of wine

Non-alcoholic wine is abundant in polyphenols which are antioxidants helpful in combatting high blood pressure, among many diseases.

Researchers from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona conducted a study about this wherein 67 men with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity consumed red wine, non-alcoholic red wine, and gin for four weeks for each drink.

The results showed that non-alcoholic red wine contributed to a 14% reduction in heart disease risk and a 20% decrease in stroke. Regular red wine lowered the risks by a smaller percentage, whereas gin showed no changes.

Minimizes the risk of cancer

Antioxidants help reduce cancer risks; however, the alcohol in wine may be counterproductive in this case. Many studies conclude that alcohol consumption can lead to several types of cancer.

One study states that heavy drinking of wine and other liquor can increase the risk of cancer at different body sites. But with the availability of non-alcoholic wines, people don’t have to abstain anymore because they can enjoy this drink without worrying about escalating threats. 

Contributes to weight loss

A woman wrapping a tape measure around her waist

In general, non-alcoholic wines contain lower calories because of the absence of ethanol. Some people consider them a healthier option, especially those who want to lose weight or are on a diet.

Here is an approximation of the nutritional value of dealcoholized wine for every 8 oz. or roughly 240 ml.

  • Calories: 15-60 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 4-25 g
  • Sugar: 4-10 g
  • Added Sugars: 0 g
  • Fats: 0 g

Furthermore, since non-alcoholic wines also undergo fermentation, the sugars from the grape juice are converted to alcohol before the removal process. This is why many non-alcoholic wines are low in sugar, making them a great drink alternative for people with diabetes.

Curtails cognitive decline

Grapes are full of phytochemicals such as resveratrol which, as one study points out, may lower the chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.

Such phytochemicals are also suggested to protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Improves sleep quality

A woman sleeping beside a wine glass

According to Sleep Foundation, alcohol consumption is related to negative sleep effects, and people who drink alcohol before sleeping may develop insomnia and sleep apnea.

Likewise, one study shows how different amounts of alcohol intake affect sleep. Low, moderate, and high amounts of alcohol before sleeping reduced sleep quality by 9.3%, 24%, and 39.2%, respectively.

Alcohol can also reduce REM sleep, which is important for memory storage, emotional processing, and cognitive abilities. There’s also a high chance that the drinker will wake up tired in the morning.

So, if you want to sleep better, switch to non-alcoholic wines. You also don’t have to wait several hours and drink water to flush out the alcohol before snoozing.

Fights common cold

Cold is among the most recurring infections a person can have. While it is generally not a cause for serious concern, it can still be uncomfortable and affects daily activities.

One research suggests that red wine has a protective effect against cold due to its abundance of anti-inflammatory antioxidants. This also applies to non-alcoholic wines since they are also full of resveratrol, a component with strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Other Benefits of Dealcoholized Wine

They are quite affordable

Rows of wine bottles with price tags

Choosing a healthier lifestyle can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be when you switch to non-alcoholic wines. With the additional process of removing the alcohol, you would expect them to cost more, but most bottles cost the same or even less than regular wine, ranging from $10 to $30.

Moreover, quality and price are often related, with some expensive wines being justified by their flavor profile and reputation. While non-alcoholic wines may not taste as sophisticated or as reputable as these luxurious wines, they are still enjoyable and guilt-free to drink.

Enhances self-control 

Excessive drinking of alcohol often makes people delirious (at least short-term), leading them to make mistakes.

In certain movie scenes, kids take advantage of their drunk parents by asking them for cash, and the parents give without hesitation. This can also happen in real life because when people are intoxicated, they usually don’t think straight.

University of Missouri-Columbia researchers conducted a study about how alcohol affects the brain’s signal when a person makes mistakes. They had a group of participants consume either alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks to determine how they would respond if they ever made oversights.

Results showed that people who drank alcohol had a dulled brain alarm signal responding to their mistake. It was also emphasized that while they were aware of their blunders, they didn’t care about them.

The other groups with non-alcoholic drinks had a stronger brain response, reacted accordingly to their mistake, and gained self-control.

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Wake up with no hangover

A man suffering from a hangover and holding a bottle of wine

Drinking alcohol may be fun, but most people face the opposite when they wake up in the morning after a night of indulgence. Hangovers make one feel sick, tired, and unattentive, leading to an unproductive day.

With dealcoholized wines, you don’t have to feel miserable after drinking, and you can still show up at work with a focused mind.

Inclusivity

Some people are restricted from drinking alcohol due to a condition, lifestyle, diet, or line of work. However, dealcoholized wines allow them to indulge without posing risks to their health and social life.

Non-alcoholic wines are a great drink alternative for pregnant women, motorists, athletes, etc. Some bottles are also certified vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and Halal, making them reach a bigger market. Teetotalers can also try dealcoholized wines with 0.0% alcohol.

Opportunities for cooking experiments

Opportunities for cooking experiments

Adding wine to dishes adds a depth of flavor and pleasant acidity that satisfies guests. While non-alcoholic wines retain most of the wine’s complexities in taste and aroma, we know that they don’t have the same intense flavors as regular wine.

But the good news is that dealcoholized wine can substitute standard wine when cooking, given a few modifications to the recipe and process.

Some non-alcoholic wines come off as too sweet, which can cause flavor imbalance in the dish. Using a high-quality dealcoholized wine would be best to take advantage of their more sophisticated flavors.

Since non-alcoholic wines have no alcohol to cook off, you can use low-medium heat to reduce the sauce you’re making. And if you think the taste could use some work, you can always add lemon juice for acidity and herbs for more flavor.

How Often Should You Drink Dealcoholized Wine to Reap its Benefits? 

If someone drinks wine for pleasure and medical purposes, they must be consistent and disciplined with their intake. The standard wine serving is 5 oz. or approximately 148 ml; men can have one to two glasses, while women can have one glass 3-4 days a week.

This moderate amount per day is key to absorbing the powerful antioxidants without being drunk or dependent on the wine. However, since dealcoholized wines don’t have ethanol, you can increase your intake to two to three servings per day.

Are Pregnant Women Allowed to Drink Dealcoholized Wine?

Pregnant woman holding a glass of wine

As mentioned above, dealcoholized wines accommodate many groups of people, even pregnant women. In fact, there are numerous non-alcoholic wines for pregnancy that are low in sugar and carbs, and some even have traces of minerals.

Although these wines are generally good for pregnant people, we suggest consulting your doctors first because not all women have the same health conditions.

How is Non-Alcoholic Wine Different from Grape Juice?

Both grape juice and non-alcoholic wine start with grapes, but the former is created more simpler than the latter.

Grape juice is made with juice extracted from crushed grapes and may be added with sugars to improve flavor. It undergoes pasteurization to kill off yeasts and prevent fermentation.

In terms of taste, grape juice is sweeter and has a more pronounced grape flavor, whereas non-alcoholic wine has a more complex and deep flavor with a bit of acidity.

Colorwise, grape juice either shows a dark or light purple color, while red wine features a spectrum of red to purple but with more clarity. Regarding the white variety, grape juice and wine are similar with a straw or golden hue.

How Did Dealcoholized Wine Come to Be?

Man smelling wine and looking at a wine bottle

You may wonder why alcohol is removed in wine when it makes the drink great. Alcohol is responsible for giving texture or body to the wine so that it feels smooth when sipped, carries balancing flavor, and transports aromas to the nose.

The reason for dealcoholized wine is to move toward a healthier lifestyle while enjoying its complex taste.

While wine has been around for thousands of years, its non-alcoholic counterpart didn’t emerge until the 1800s. The story of how it began is attributed to separate occurrences from different parts of the world.

Carl Jung’s Breakthrough in the Wine Industry

Jung family promoting their non-alcoholic wine

Jung family promoting their non-alcoholic wine – Image by Carl Jung Alcohol Free

The oldest story is that of the Jung Family, who were owners of a vineyard in the Rhine region in Germany.

Carl Jung started his company in 1868, where he applied his learnings from his father and mother, who cultivated Riesling vineyards. About 8 years later, Carl married Maria, a businesswoman who sold his wines. They had a son named Carl Jung, Jr.

One day, Maria noticed a decline in sales due to customers being restricted from alcohol by their doctors. With this, Carl Jung, Jr. experimented with ways to remove the alcohol content from his parent’s wine without ruining the flavors.

Finally, he came up with the vacuum distillation method, which reduced the alcohol’s boiling temperature from 176° F (normal temperature when the alcohol evaporates) to below 95° F. This lower temperature successfully extracted the alcohol from the wine while preventing the cooked alcohol taste.

His method was patented in Germany and Great Britain in 1908 and in the USA in 1913. This groundbreaking process would play a crucial role in developing more advanced methods of dealcoholizing wines up to the present. It is still utilized at Carl Jung Wines, which exports millions of wines to over 25 countries.

Welch’s Grape Juice and the Religious Inspiration Behind it

Welch's Grape Juice Company

Welch’s Grape Juice Company – Image by Welch’s

In the United States, the beginnings of non-alcoholic wine are credited to a dentist, minister, and Prohibitionist named Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch.

In 1869, he used Louis Pasteur’s pasteurization process on grape juice so it wouldn’t ferment and prompted congregations to adopt his alcohol-free wine for communion. He called his product “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine.”

At the time, local churches were not very welcoming of the idea because they felt it wasn’t traditional, which forced Thomas to give up on it.

Throughout the years, the product was renamed “Welch’s Grape Juice,” and his company gained popularity due to the initiative of Thomas’s son, Charles. He promoted their grape juice as a healthier alternative to wine during the World Fair in Chicago in 1893.

The Temperance Movement also contributed greatly to the grape juice’s continuous popularity and demand. Today, Welch’s is still a key player in the juice industry and has even proceeded to create lines of jams, jellies, and other fruit products.

The Future of Non-Alcoholic Wines

Increase symbol with a bottle of non-alcoholic wine

Nowadays, people lead a healthier lifestyle by having a balanced diet, working out more, and lowering alcohol consumption. This paved the way for the non-alcoholic beverage industry to boom and create more sales.

According to an industry report by Fact.MR, the non-alcoholic wine market was estimated to make $1.6 billion in sales in 2021, with a 10.4% CAGR, reaching about $4.5 billion by 2031.

Similarly, Drinks Market Analysis IWSR reports that sales of no/low alcohol drinks are estimated to rise by 31% by 2024. Particularly in the US, the no/low beverage industry had a more than 30% increase in consumption in 2020.

Another key contributor to the rise of non-alcoholic drinks was the COVID pandemic, which rocked the world to its core. It caused people, especially millennials and Gen Z, to adopt a better lifestyle, including cutting down on alcohol consumption.

Conclusion 

Prioritizing your health usually requires sacrifices, but if you’re a wine lover, you can still enjoy your favorite drink with dealcoholized wine. This drink can assist in preventing or reducing the risks of certain diseases while promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Are you ready to give dealcoholized wines a try? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section.

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