“Do not eat that! Do not drink too much! Do sports!” So many injunctions arising in today’s world. This is how wine without alcohol has become the latest craze. What does it mean for talented winemakers, defending their identity and know-how? This is one of the topics highlighted at the last ProWein show. Should we invest in dealcoholization or any other process to reduce the ethanol content of wine?
How on earth is non-alcoholic wine produced?
Yeasts consume the sugar contained in the must during the fermentation phase, thus generating alcohol. This is during this stage, among other delicate steps, that, from a simple grape juice, we obtain the immemorial beverage that we know and appreciate.
Under the pressure of marketing, some manufacturers now offer alcohol-free wines for pregnant women, people with diabetes, the ones who can’t drink at all, those attempting Dry January or teetotalers. These producers manage to extract alcohol from their wine going through more or less efficient and sophisticated processes. They can also act upstream, introducing low-yielding yeasts or even starting from a low-sugar must.
Many researchers try improve these dealcoholization methods as the operation does not appear that simple. And for good reason! Alcohol is one of the major constituents in wine!
So the question pops up…
A wine without alcohol, is it still wine?
As a winemaker, you know that a good wine shows a subtle balance between acidity, tannic grip and smoothness. The alcohol brings this essential soft side; without it, the wine becomes aggressive and astringent. It loses its texture and sensoric value.
My answer then comes from the heart: No! Non-alcoholic wine is not wine. It is an abomination created by a moribund system, in the same way as food industrialization or young people brainwashing at school. That is another lie.
The alcohol present in the wine delivers a harmony and all the flavors captured by the art of winemakers and the history of their lands.
The human body itself produces alcohol. Some people are even found positive after a breath test whereas they haven’t drunk anything! In case you want a healthier and more mindful lifestyle, why not drink natural alternatives like water or fresh vegetable juices?
Alcohol-free wine has no future. Just like a virus rejected by its host. Let’s keep our common sense! Change is afoot. Today’s world is refusing lies, aberrations and other untruths.
If you’ve read me so far, it’s probably that you love your wine. You defend an ancestral, genuine art of living and producing. Then use the magic of the Internet to reinforce this culture of wine respecting its fundamentals. In Vino Veritas! Join us!