Unlike regular or full-strength wine, dealcoholized wine has a reduced alcohol content.
Dealcoholized wine starts out as regular wine before having some or most of its alcohol content removed. It’s not the same as non-alcoholic wine, which typically contains no alcohol to begin with.
People may choose the two beverages for similar reasons — like wanting to enjoy a glass of wine without consuming any alcohol or feeling any of its side effects.
This article covers what dealcoholized wine is, if it has health benefits, if you can use it for cooking, and if it’s safe during pregnancy.
In short, dealcoholizing wine means removing all or some of its ethanol, or what is usually just referred to as the alcohol in regular wine. Aside from being alcohol-free, it may taste and smell different than regular wine (
You can use dealcoholized wine in all the same ways as regular wine — though it won’t make you feel intoxicated.
With reverse osmosis, full-strength alcohol is pushed at a high pressure against a semipermeable membrane. The pressure against the membrane forces the alcohol and water to separate from the other elements of the wine.
Next, the alcohol is removed from the water using distillation, which entails heating the mixture to a high enough temperature so that the alcohol evaporates. Lastly, the alcohol-free water is combined with the remaining elements from the original wine.
These techniques can safely reduce the alcohol content to a small amount — in some cases, even less than 0.3% (
For comparison, this is less alcohol than you’d find in fermented drinks like kombucha, which typically contains 1–2% alcohol. Regular or full-strength wine usually contains around 12% alcohol (
Dealcoholized wine is regular wine that has had most or all of its alcohol content removed using industrial equipment and processing techniques.
Whether you should opt for regular strength or dealcoholized wine is a personal choice.
Wine with a lower alcohol content may be desirable for young adults or those who want to enjoy a drink without feeling the side effects of alcohol (
For families preparing meals for young children, dealcoholized wine can also be used in cooking. Or, you may simply want to avoid or limit alcohol, but still enjoy the taste of a glass of wine. In any case, dealcoholized wine could be a suitable choice for you.
Drinking an occasional glass of red wine can certainly fit into a healthy diet, but too much can be detrimental to your health.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men. For wine, one drink or serving is equal to 5 ounces (148 mL) (
If you like to enjoy wine regularly but worry about alcohol’s effects on your health, opting for dealcoholized wine consistently or even from time to time may be better.
Dealcoholized wine may be particularly useful for people looking to limit or avoid their alcohol intake. Still, keep in mind that even dealcoholized wine may contain a small percentage of alcohol per serving.
Some people drink red wine not only because they enjoy its flavor and aroma, but also because it’s believed to offer some health benefits.
Plant chemicals found in wine called polyphenols are thought to be responsible for benefits like lowered blood pressure, improved response to insulin, and reduced oxidative stress. All of these effects could help decrease the risk of heart disease (
Dealcoholized red wine might offer similar benefits, since it’s rich in the same healthy polyphenols.
One of these polyphenols is called resveratrol. It’s believed to account for many of the assumed benefits of full-strength red wine and acts as an antioxidant in the body, protecting against damaging oxidation (
Nevertheless, drinking too much full-strength wine could have negative impacts that outweigh any potential health benefits. For instance, drinking too much is linked with with heart disease, cancer, alcohol dependence, weight gain, and more (
Drinking dealcoholized wine could be a better option for some. For instance, it may lessen the risk of developing a dependence on alcohol. Plus, it tends to be lower in calories and carbs than regular wine, thereby limiting the odds of unwanted weight gain.
For comparison, 1 glass (about 5 ounces or 148 mL) of regular red table wine contains 125 calories and 3.84 grams of carbs, while the same amount of dealcoholized wine contains fewer than 9 calories and 1.6 grams of carbs per serving (
Dealcoholized wine contains many of the same healthy polyphenols found in regular wine. Plus, it’s often lower in calories and carbs.
Because it’s much lower in alcohol than regular wine, it’s natural to wonder if you can drink dealcoholized wine when pregnant. However, it’s best to avoid all types of alcohol — including dealcoholized wine — when pregnant.
Current guidelines recommend the complete avoidance of alcohol during pregnancy since there is no amount known to be safe for unborn babies (
Alcohol use during pregnancy has been linked with a multitude of harmful side effects for infants. These include low birth weight, learning disabilities, abnormal facial features, and more (
There’s also no guarantee that the amount of alcohol listed on the label is truly what’s contained in the bottle.
What’s more, some types of dealcoholized wine may be more susceptible to microbial contamination and spoilage than regular wine. Since you’re already at a higher risk of foodborne illness during pregnancy, this is another reason to avoid the beverage (
If you’re pregnant and craving a drink to sip on, it’s better to stick with an option that never contained any alcohol to begin with, such as grape juice or flavored carbonated water.
Because dealcoholized wine still contains a small percentage of alcohol, and since there’s no guarantee that you can know exactly how much each serving contains, it’s best to avoid it when pregnant.
Dealcoholized wines are commonly available at liquor stores, restaurants, online retailers, and sometimes at grocery stores and convenience stores depending on the regulations in your area.
Dealcoholized wine should be clearly labeled as such and inform you of what percent alcohol it contains by volume. Many popular varieties of dealcoholized wine contain less than 1% alcohol by volume, though it varies between brands.
Some of the common terms used to describe dealcoholized wine on labels are:
- alcohol removed
- 0.0% alcohol
If you’re wondering if you can dealcoholize wine yourself at home, the answer is yes.
Without industrial equipment, you can simply remove the alcohol by boiling wine on the stove. Similar to when you use wine for cooking, heat treatment makes the alcohol evaporate — though it will also change the drink’s taste and aroma.
Plus, without specialized equipment, you cannot measure how much alcohol remains in the boiled wine. Thus, the method is not ideal for those looking for a guaranteed and 100% alcohol-free drink.
Dealcoholized wine has been steadily gaining in popularity. It’s readily available at many restaurants, liquor stores, and online retailers.
Dealcoholized wine is a type of regular wine that has had most or all of its alcohol removed.
You may receive many of the same health benefits of regular red wine when you choose dealcoholized varieties. Plus, it’s easy to source at liquor stores, restaurants, and some convenience stores.
It can be a suitable choice for young adults who have just started drinking and older adults who wish to limit or avoid alcohol and its side effects.
However, because it does still contain a small percentage of alcohol, it’s best to steer clear of it during pregnancy.
If you’re curious about dealcoholized wine, check with your server next time you dine out and try a glass.
Just one thing
Try this today: Are you looking for ways to cut back on your alcohol consumption? If so, you might be interested in learning more about the sober curious movement and how some people are using it to make a positive lifestyle change.
If you think you may need extra support to make changes around your alcohol habits, be sure to contact a trained professional with a specialty in alcohol dependence or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).