What is Alcohol-Free Red Wine? Your Guide to Non-Alcoholic Cabernets, Merlots, & More

Posted by Boisson Staff on

Wouldn’t it be nice to wind down at night with a glass of your favorite type of red wine – without any of the negative health consequences like poor sleep, mental fog the following day, or that pestering headache? 

Or, what if you could uncork a bottle with friends during a mid-day lunch - and not have to stress about being inebriated for all the other tasks you have on your agenda (let alone driving)?

If you’re searching for a way to enjoy everything you love about red wine without the drawbacks, you’re in luck. It’s possible - and it’s more accessible than you think. Alcohol-free red wine allows you to enjoy everything you’ve come to know and love about this beverage without the ABV. So what is alcohol-free red wine? 

In this complete guide, we’re going to introduce you to a whole new world - one you’ll wish you knew about sooner. You’ll learn how zero-ABV wine is made, and why you should take a chance on it yourself, even if you aren’t living a 100% sober lifestyle. 

Then, we’ll explore all the different varieties out there and point you in the right direction if you’re ready to grab your first bottle - and we’re confident that after hearing all that we have to say about non-alcoholic red wine, you will be!

Let’s not waste any more time. What is alcohol-free wine?

What is Alcohol-Free Red Wine?

So, what is alcohol-free red wine? It’s exactly what it sounds like. This is the very same red wine you’ve had in the past but with one obvious and significant difference: there is 0.00% ABV in that glass of vino!

There are some red wines that have been dealcoholized - and yet, they still contain some degree of alcohol. That’s why if you’re really looking for an alcohol-free red wine you need to carefully examine the bottle to confirm the 0.00% ABV content.

To progress this conversation further, we need to talk about how winemakers bring alcohol-free to life. Keep reading to discover the two different approaches.

How is Non-Alcoholic Red Wine Made?

How is Non-Alcoholic Red Wine Made?

If you ask different wineries: "How is non-alcoholic red wine made?" – you may get different answers, as there are two different methods used in modern winemaking practices. 

The jury is still out on which is superior: parties on both sides of the fence have their opinions. In either case, let’s talk about the first approach to making non-alcoholic red wine: removing the alcohol after the fact.

In this approach, the grapes are grown, harvested, crushed, and fermented no differently than the grapes of traditional wine. Then, winemakers will use some means of removing the alcohol while retaining the flavor, color, and aroma of the product. The two most popular approaches here are vacuum distilling and reverse osmosis. 

The end product is one that perfectly embodies the characteristics of the traditional wine in question, whether it be a substitute for chardonnay or non-alcoholic sparkling wine, or in this case, non-alcoholic red wine. The only difference is the lack of alcohol. Over the years, this has come to be known as the premier process for non-alcoholic winemaking. 

The other method is to prevent the alcohol from developing in the fermentation process. While this is still used in some winemaking practices, it is generally regarded as an inferior approach. It’s been said that buying this type of non-alcoholic red wine is no different than going to your local supermarket and grabbing the most expensive bottle of grape juice possible. 

To learn more about how to make non-alcoholic wine, check out our full guide here. Now that you know how non-alcoholic red wine is made, let’s talk about the elephant in the room - why does anyone care? Who can benefit from alcohol-free wine? You can! And so can everyone else in the world. Keep reading to learn why. 

Why You Should Try Non-Alcoholic Red Wine Yourself

The benefits that come with living a sober lifestyle are seemingly endless - but especially so when you have an alcohol-free substitute that you love. This allows you to still maintain your social life and avoid feeling out of place at gatherings where people are drinking alcohol.

But the real reason you should try non-alcoholic red wine and make the switch for good comes down to the non-alcoholic red wine benefits. So, let’s start there. 

Consider All the Health Benefits of Switching to Alcohol-Free Red Wine…

The biggest reason most people end up taking a chance on alcohol-free red wine is to ditch the negative health consequences of alcohol once and for all. Chances are, you’re already familiar with at least a few of these. 

First and foremost, traditional red wine impacts your health and well-being in the short term. Your sleep cycle is greatly affected even with just a glass or two after work. While you may think that nightcap helps you fall asleep, you end up worse off, as you’re prevented from reaching REM sleep - where real physical and mental recovery occurs.

Then the following morning at work you may lag behind a bit. Maybe you don’t even realize it - but alcohol has lingering effects on your mental clarity and focus. That brain fog slows you down even if you don’t feel hungover.

Speaking of which…wouldn’t it be nice to say goodbye to hangovers once and for all? No more pounding headaches and skeleton-shaking nausea after a few too many glasses; no more wasted days recovering. After all, alcohol is a poison - the feelings you experience the next day is your body begging you to stop.

All of this should be reason enough to have you ready to pour up a glass of alcohol-free wine. But you may still have your doubts - particularly about the experience. How does non-alcoholic red wine stack up to its traditional counterpart in terms of taste & aroma? The answer may surprise you…

How Does Non-Alcoholic Red Wine Taste?

We briefly mentioned this a few times, but we’ll say it again - non-alcoholic red wine is everything you’d expect from a traditional glass of vino without the ABV! 

That means you can expect the same flavor, body, aroma, and color in your glass. In fact, a blind test taste may leave you perplexed as to which glass is alcohol-free. Really, the only difference in taste is the absence of the “alcohol bite”. You don’t get that same warm feeling in your chest and mouth. For many, that’s just another bonus - it makes certain varieties more drinkable!

But what about the rest of the wine-drinking experience - like aroma and pairings? If you live for that first deep nasal inhale after swirling your wine in the glass, you’ll be delighted to discover that alcohol-free red wine is no different. It packs just as much olfactory pleasure as the real deal! As for pairings, here’s the scoop…

It Pairs Amazingly With Foods

There’s nothing quite like a warm summer night on the patio with good friends, good music, a glass of red and some hors d’oeuvres. Or pairing a deep glass of red with a juicy steak, some mashed potatoes, and Brussel sprouts. Can you still get this same experience without the ABV?

Absolutely!

Non-alcoholic red wine pairs amazingly with foods - perhaps even better than traditional wine. Without the alcohol getting in the way and clouding your judgment, you can really appreciate the pairing in front of you.

We recently wrote a complete guide on our favorite foods to pair with non alcoholic red wine if you want to learn more - and perhaps prepare for that first tasting night with friends!

There are Social Benefits, Too!

For many, the hardest part of making the decision to abstain from alcohol is the social aspect. You fear you’ll feel awkward and look out of place at social gatherings where others are drinking. But trust us - that doesn’t need to be a concern. You’ll fit right in with your 0-ABV glass of red!

Better yet, while everyone else is scrambling to get Ubers - or worse, getting behind the wheel - you can drive home stress free. You can even enjoy a glass or two in situations you otherwise might not - like events during the middle of the day. 

And, if you’ve had embarrassing experiences after having one glass too many - you know just how soul-crushing it can feel waking up the next day. But a long night out with alcohol-free wine leads to nothing of the sort - you can keep your wits about you and feel confident going into and leaving any social event. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons to try non-alcoholic beverages

But is your favorite type of red wine even available in a non-alcoholic form? Chances are, yes - it is. We’ll explore a few of the most popular varieties below. 

What are the Different Types of Alcohol-Free Red Wine Available?

what is non alcoholic red wine

There is a non-alcoholic wine for every season or occasion. No matter what your taste buds are craving, or what’s on the menu on any given night - the perfect red wine variety is available! 

From pinot noirs to merlots, zinfandels, and of course, our personal favorite - cabernets -  here are all the options you’ll find on our shelves at Boisson.

Alcohol-Free Cabernet

These grapes were born in the Bordeaux region of France, but these days, you’ll find cabs produced worldwide - from Napa to Chile, to Australia, and everywhere in between.

This full-bodied, robust variety is our own go-to. Each glass offers a lush experience that will leave flavors lingering long after the last drop is gone. Cabernets offer medium to high tannin levels with subtle, tart fruit flavors. It pours burgundy in the glass. The aromatic notes are earthy - you’ll pick up dark chocolate, figs, peppercorns, and more.

Alcohol-Free Merlots

Similar to Cabernet grapes, merlot grapes originated in Bordeaux - but have become a worldwide craft over the years. It’s a bit newer of a variety, though, as it was first grown toward the end of the 1700s.

You can expect lower tannin levels in merlots, making them a bit more drinkable for the inexperienced palate. This is paired with a lighter, ruby-red pour. Rather than drying out your mouth like a full-bodied variety would, merlot offers a fruitier experience. With that said, this is still a medium-to-full-bodied pour offering strong notes of red fruit flavors and a dry finish. On the nose, you’ll get much of the same - a fruity blend of cherries, berries, plums, and espresso.

Alcohol-Free Pinot Noir

This variety originated in Burgundy, France - and is unique in that these grapes can be used to create rosé, sparkling wine, and other varieties!

Both the merlot and cabernet pack a punch - whereas the pinot noir variety is a more delicate experience. With a lighter taste comes a lighter, almost transparent pour. It also offers a lower tannin level, so it’s particularly versatile for pairing with food.

The tasting notes are a bit more complex - you get notes of raspberry and cherry, but also clove, hibiscus, and mushroom. It finishes long and smooth and offers aromas of spice.

Alcohol-Free Zinfandel

The final type of alcohol-free red wine you’ll come across hails from Croatia: zinfandel. This rich, jammy, bold variety is loved by many, but those who prefer something lighter and easier to drink will want to stay away. It can be overwhelming - even without the ABV! That’s because the tannins are high, and so is the acidity.

You can expect an array of robust, fruity flavors in each sip - both red and black berries will infiltrate your taste buds. You’ll also get notes of smoke, black cherry, coconut, blueberry, pepper, and more on the nose.

What is the Best Alcohol-Free Wine Brand?

Now that you know what alcohol-free wine varieties are in play, you’re a bit closer to getting your hands on that first bottle…where should you start? What is the best alcohol-free wine brand? 

As with any wine, you want to stick with winemakers that have a reputation for consistently producing quality, enjoyable products. And despite what you may have assumed, there are a ton of different brands out there you can choose from. Here are three we highly recommend:

  • Leitz Wine: Known for being one of the finest wine producers in the country, Leitz brings the magic of Germany’s vineyards here to the US. They create pinot noirs, but also an array of white wine varieties.
  • Surely Wines: This brand is dedicated to creating sophisticated, stigma-free non-alcoholic wines right in the heart of California’s wine country. They still rely on the premier approach to alcohol-free wine making - dealcoholization. They specialize in pinot noirs along with rosé, sauvignon blancs, and delicious alcohol-free wine coolers!
  • Hill Street Beverage Company: Last but certainly not least, we have the brand responsible for our favorite alcohol-free merlot. This brand combines craft quality and innovative bioscience to create 0.00% ABV wines that don’t just taste better - they’re better for you. You will also find bruts and shiraz from this brand.



  • Where to Buy Non-Alcoholic Red Wine Online & In-Stores

    There’s only one question left to address in our complete guide to non-alcoholic red wine: where can you go to get your hands on that first bottle? 

    We won’t hold you in suspense any longer. If you’re convinced of the magic that alcohol-free wine has to offer, you can look no further than Boisson: the #1 place to buy non alcoholic drinks online. We have stores in NYC if you want to stop by and visit us in person and learn more about the wide world of alcohol-free red wine. 

    What is Non-Alcoholic Red Wine? Wrapping Things Up

    There you have it - our complete guide to non-alcoholic red wine has come to a close. We’ve answered all the questions you came here with, including:

    • What is non-alcoholic red wine?
    • How is non-alcoholic red wine made?
    • Why should you try it yourself?
    • Where can you get started?

    We hope you come to love and appreciate alcohol-free red wine as much as we do. At this point, enough talking - head over to our online store and get that first bottle (or bottles - gotta try them all, right?) sent to your door today! Or, check out the other side of the wine world with our guide to the best non-alcoholic white wine.

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