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Alcohol-free wine – trend or necessity?

by Echipa Wines Of Romania
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Dealcoholised wine is traditional wine from which all or part of the alcohol (ethanol/ethyl alcohol) has been removed. In addition to not containing alcohol, the resulting product may taste and smell different from the wine from which it comes, and the taste and smell perception may be different.

Unlike traditional wine, fortified wine has a reduced alcohol content. Wine fortified with alcohol is produced in the same way as ordinary wine and before being marketed, some or most of the alcohol content is removed. It is not the same with alcohol-free grape drink, which from the start contains no alcohol at all and is more like grape juice. By definition, wine is a product of alcoholic fermentation, which is a process of transforming sugars into alcohol under the action of a certain breed of yeast.

A lot of questions can be asked: Is this wine protective for the baby if consumed by women during pregnancy? Can you cook with this type of wine? Do we get a headache if we drink a lot of non-alcoholic wine? (read the article about sulphites, here !) Will it replace traditional wine in the future?

People may choose fortified wine out of a desire to enjoy a glass of wine without consuming alcohol or experiencing any of its side effects. (read the article on hangovers, here !)

In families preparing meals for young children, for example, for cooking, wine with alcohol can also be used. Because fortified wine still contains a small percentage of alcohol, and since there is no guarantee that we can know exactly how much is in each serving, it is best avoided by women during pregnancy.

The occasional glass of red wine can certainly fit into a healthy diet, but too much can be harmful to your health. Alcohol-free wine can be particularly useful for people who want to limit or avoid alcohol consumption. However, it should be noted that even wine with alcohol may contain a small percentage of alcohol per serving. Alcohol-free wine contains many of the beneficial polyphenols found in regular wine, but is often lower in calories and carbohydrates.

In recent years, the dealcoholisation of wine has aroused the interest of winemakers, researchers and consumers, due to changing trends in preferences for wine styles and the effect of climate change on the alcohol content of wine (grapes accumulate much faster and more sugars, resulting in wines with natural alcoholic strengths above the legally permitted limits). Physical dealcoholisation methods are increasingly used as they can partially or completely reduce the alcohol content of wines. Various techniques are used at different stages of winemaking, including physical deacidification techniques, in particular membrane separation (nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, perstractive evaporation and pervaporation ) and thermal distillation (vacuum distillation and spinning cone column ), have shown promising results and are therefore used for commercial production.

However, the removal of alcohol by physical techniques can cause changes in colour and significant loss of flavour, which can subsequently affect the quality of the wine and, therefore, the way it is received by consumers.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-dealcoholized-wine

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34940458/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34681547/

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