Alcoholic

Guide to Dealcoholized Wine

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What is Dealcoholized Wine?

Dealcoholized wine or NA wine (Non-Alcoholic) is wine with reduced alcohol content or no alcohol content at all. Wine with 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and under is considered dealcoholized wine. For context, regular wine can contain between 11%-14% ABV. The obvious benefit of dealcoholized wine is that you’re consuming very little alcohol, which can cause damage to the internal organs and to the brain when overused. As well, overindulging in alcohol on a regular basis puts you at an increased risk for many chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease [1].

Does Non-Alcoholic Wine Have Alcohol?

Dealcoholized wine has its alcoholic content removed after fermentation, whereas non-alcoholic wine often does not contain alcohol, or has very limited alcohol, to begin with. NA wines are fermented to a lesser degree than regular wine, ensuring that the grapes do not produce unlimited alcohol content from the beginning of the process. Overall, non-alcoholic wine is usually sweeter than dealcoholized wine. Both non-alcoholic red wine and white wines are widely available and sold.

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How to Dealcoholize Wine

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To start the dealcoholization process, regular fermented wine is either filtered through reverse osmosis or put through a spinning process (spinning core technology) that removes the alcohol along with the water content. Another method, called vacuum distillation, is where the wine is heated to a high temperature so that the alcohol evaporates. Following all of these three processes, the amount of alcohol and water that was removed is replaced with either just water or a combination of water and unfermented grape juice. These processes do remove alcohol, but the result is not, as is widely believed, just a sweet drink comparable to grape juice.

You can also dealcoholize wine at home by boiling it over the stove. The alcohol will evaporate, leaving you with dealcoholized wine. This method will change the taste and smell of the wine and is not entirely accurate because it’s impossible to measure the amount of alcohol left in the wine without professional equipment. Nevertheless, boiling wine over the stove may decrease the alcoholic content drastically, making it a better option than drinking regular wine.

Why Drink Dealcoholized or Non-alcoholic Wine?

There are many reasons why one would choose to start drinking non-alcoholic wine. The non-alcoholic wine benefits include reduced risk of cancer, improved sleep, lower blood pressure, better moods, a healthier liver, and more. Another obvious benefit is that people who struggle with an addiction to alcohol can still enjoy wine without the alcohol content. Getting drunk regularly can cause many issues, including antisocial behavior, hangovers (as well as nausea, tiredness, dehydration, and headaches), risk of losing your job, tumultuous relationships, increased risk of road accidents, and getting in trouble with the law. You can drink as much non-alcoholic wine as you want - without getting drunk.

 

Is Non-alcoholic Wine Good for You?

Is dealcoholized wine safe? And is it actually good for you? Overwhelmingly, research shows that non-alcoholic wine is a lot better and healthier than its alcoholic counterpart.

Drinking small amounts of normal red wine regularly is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies show, however, that if one increases the recommended one or two units of alcohol a day, it could lead to harmful effects, known as the ‘J-curve.’ It is unclear if it’s the alcohol itself or the wine as a whole that plays a part in strengthening the heart. However, most scientists believe that non-alcoholic red wine also strengthens the heart because it also contains antioxidant properties. Other non-alcoholic wine benefits include lowered blood pressure, improved response to insulin, and reduced oxidative stress. The most advantageous alcohol-free wine side effect is the ability to avoid alcohol and the dangers of addiction. If you are struggling to control the amount of alcohol you consume daily, Avenues Recovery is here to guide you on your road to recovery.

Alcohol contains approximately seven calories per gram - the same as fat and some carbs. The difference is that the calories consumed through alcohol have no nutritional value, whereas the calories from food do contain nutrition. Drinking non-alcoholic wine can therefore help you control your weight gain. According to Healthline,1 cup of regular red wine (about 5 ounces or 148ml) contains 125 calories and 3.84 grams of carbs, whereas the same amount of dealcoholized wine has just 9 calories and 1.6 grams of carbs.

Alcohol relaxes the body and causes you to fall asleep, but studies have shown that drunken sleep is of poor quality, particularly during REM sleep. This stage of sleep is vital for memory consolidation and for preventing tiredness and drowsiness the next day. Drinking alcohol-free wine prevents this, allowing you to stay more alert and focused the next day.

Is Dealcoholized Wine Safe During Pregnancy?

Everyone agrees that alcohol and pregnancy are an unsafe combination. As soon as a woman discovers that she is expecting a baby, she should avoid drinking alcohol to prevent FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder).

What about dealcoholized wine? Can an expectant woman safely drink alcohol-free wine? The answer is not so simple and we recommend reading beverage labels very carefully. A beverage labeled as ‘alcohol-free’ is generally safe if it truly doesn’t contain any alcohol and is fruit juice or soda water-based.

Dealcoholized wine, however, often contains traces of alcohol, up to 0.5% ABV. According to the CDC [2], “there is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy.” Therefore, unless a woman is 100% sure that a beverage contains no trace of alcohol, it is still best to avoid these types of drinks for the duration of the pregnancy.

Does Non-Alcoholic Wine Taste the Same?

The process of dealcoholizing wine is sophisticated, designed to remove the alcohol but retain the polyphenols that give the wine taste and aroma. Experts who know how to remove alcohol from wine effectively manage to produce wine that tastes and smells similar to regular wine. With non-alcoholic wines, it’s slightly more complicated. The fermentation process is controlled so that the sugars in the grapes do not fully ferment, resulting in drastically less alcohol content. Some critics are of the opinion that non-alcoholic wine cannot fairly be called ‘wine’ since it never went through the fermentation process, which converts grapes into wine.

For this reason, some non-alcoholic wines are labeled ‘non-alcoholic’ without the word ‘wine’, or simply called a ‘wine alternative.’ For some people, one of the disadvatages of non alcoholic wine is that the resultant taste is reportedly less wine-like and sweeter, similar to grape juice.

Dealcoholized Wine: The Proven Better Choice

Overall, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of non-alcoholic wine. Healthwise, alcohol-free wine is a great alternative to regular wine. Even if you only swap a few of your cups daily for alcohol-free wine, there are still tremendous physical and emotional benefits. One extra benefit is avoiding the unpleasant alcoholic breath and body odor that accompanies frequent drinkers.

Dealcoholized wine can be used to help in the recovery process from alcohol addiction, as a healthier alternative to alcoholic wine. However, dealcoholized wine could also serve as a trigger to a recovering alcoholic. Be honest with yourself or discuss with a professional whether alcohol-free wine is a viable option for you.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction, Avenues Recovery is here to support you in your recovery with our many detox and treatment programs. We create a safe environment for you and offer our ongoing support so that you can focus on healing. 

Contact us 24/7 to find out more. Our professional staff is available to answer any questions you may have. You deserve better than a life of addiction, and we’re here to help you get there.

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Sources

[1] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

[2] cdc.gov

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