Alcohol Free Wine?!?

Isn’t that grape juice you may ask? Actually, it’s wine with the alcohol removed. And for many who can’t drink alcohol, this is a viable alternative. My Dad is one of those people due to heart issues. So this Christmas, we set out to discover Alcohol Free wine.

I was pleasantly surprised by the vast selection at my local Total Wine & More where I picked up 8 bottles from three different brands.

  • Fre Wines from Sutter Home Winery: 2011 Chardonnay, 2011 Merlot, 2011 Premium Red Blend, Brut Sparkling
  • ARIEL Vineyards from J. Lohr Vineyards: 2011 Chardonnay, Blanc
  • St. Regis Wine: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by their likeness to wine with alcohol. That must be credited to the way they are made…like regular wine then the alcohol is removed (more on that below). Here were our favorites…

White Wine

ARIEL Vineyards Chardonnay 2011

  • Variety: Chardonnay
  • Aroma: Pear, vanilla, oaky/musky
  • Taste: Tropical fruit, pear, toasty
  • Price: $7.99
  • My thoughts: The white wines were interesting but this one rose to the top. It truly was the most Chardonnay-like with the true characteristics of the variety. It was my Dad’s favorite and one he wanted to get more of for regular drinking at home.

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, in California’s Central Coast, has owned and operated ARIEL Vineyards since 1985. ARIEL wines are made with grapes varieties grown in California and fermented as normal wines are. Then 99.5% of the alcohol is removed through their cold filtration process using reverse osmosis. It allows alcohol removal while retaining the qualities found in traditional wine.

Sparkling Wine

Fre Brut Sparkling 2011

  • Variety: Unknown
  • Aroma: Pear and apple
  • Taste: Crisp apple
  • Price: $7.49
  • My thoughts: This was the BEST of all the wines! You would have NO idea this was alcohol removed and doesn’t taste like a sparkling grape juice! It is a lovely sparkling wine alternative.

Sutter Home Winery produces Fre Alcohol-Removed Wines. After harvest, the winemakers craft the wine using traditional methods. Once the desired wine is achieved, they use the “state-of-the-art” spinning cone technology to remove the alcohol. Pioneered in Australia, the process uses a combination of centrifugal force and nitrogen gas to separate the alcohol and preserve the wine’s aromas and flavor creating a wine with less than 0.5% alcohol by volume.

Red Wine

Fre Merlot 2011

    • Variety: Merlot
    • Aroma: Cherry and plum
    • Taste: Berry, cotton candy, plum with a touch of spice
    • Price: $6.99
    • My thoughts: This was definitely the best red wine with lots of depth, layers and characteristics, even more so than your typical Merlot actually.

Same alcohol removal process as above.

It was a great experiment and fun to try all the different wines. I’m very happy my Dad can join our wine toasts with something enjoyable in this glass!

Have you tried any you enjoyed?

Cheers to alcohol-free wine alternatives!