Dealcoholisation of wine is actually a well-established technology. Distillation is the typical approach, which is the same process used to make a brandy, with a couple of key differences. One important difference is that the dealcoholisation is conducted under vacuum, which means that much lower temperatures can be applied. This results in less heat-damage to the product, preserving the fresh fruity aromas of the wine and avoiding cooked-impressions. However, the majority of the wonderful aroma that we love still leaves with the alcohol out of the top of the column anyway. In fact, a great brandy results from the standard dealcoholisation process!
Have you ever tasted a non-alcoholic wine off the shelf that really smelled and tasted like wine it was made from? While the lack of alcohol has a substantial impact on the taste and on the release of aroma, i.e. the nose, of the non-alcoholic product, the main problem is that the characteristic aroma simply isn’t there anymore. Due to this current state-of-the-art, often only poor-quality feed wines are dealcoholized. What’s the point in processing a premium wine, if the resulting product lacks its aroma anyway? You can select highly aromatic wines as feedstocks and perhaps get a little more aroma in the glass, but you’d still be losing the majority of it in the process.
This is set to change.
Through an additional, novel processing step, it is possible to separate the aroma from the alcohol and add it back to the non-alcoholic product. Here’s how it works. Adsorption allows the recovery of the vast majority of the aroma which otherwise would have been lost with the alcohol; the characteristic, defining aroma which makes much of the nose of the wine and let’s us tell a sauvignon blanc from a riesling, or a shiraz from a pinot noir.
This is what’s been missing from non-alcoholic wines so far. Sure, there will always be a gap simply through the lack of alcohol, but with the aroma intact, we’re now talking about a product which a wine-lover can get behind. We’re talking about the diversity in aroma that we enjoy in normal wines. We’re talking about premium wines, which you’d previously never have considered removing the alcohol from, being on the table.
Its time for a new standard of non-alcoholic wines. It’s time to stay true-2-aroma!