No alcohol wines and spirits explained - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

There are two basic methods to making no alcohol wines and spirits - either remove the alcohol that's there or don't have any alcohol to start with.

Low alcohol wines (the lowest that can be achieved is 0.5% alcohol and not zero percent unless it is then mixed with grape juice concentrate and water and becomes a 'wine-based beverage') are made by removing the alcohol by distillation. It's based on similar techniques to distilling high alcohol drinks like Scottish whisky (who use pot-shaped stills) or vodka (who use tall fractional distillation columns). Wine uses a distiller with spinning cones inside.

All distillation methods start by heating the base liquid and the alcohol boils off. But rather than collecting this alcohol and drinking this while leaving behind the (almost) water, for low or no alcoholic drinks (also known as the LoNo category) you keep the water.

But if all that is left is water then where do the 'wine' flavours come from in these ultra low alcohol wines? Wine's 'aromatising compounds' are distilled off too but captured separately to the alcohol and added back to make the distilled liquid taste and smell like wine.

The new breed of no alcohol spirits also use these same distilled aromatising compounds (known as 'botanicals') to flavour their drinks - but rather than capturing the essential smells and flavours from wine they use the captured compounds from herbs and spices.

It's the same technique perfume makers have been using for centuries - capture the sweet smelling liquid given off from distilling the liquid made by leaving herbs and spices sitting (infusing) in water for a while. Add these to a simple sugar solution made by dissolving sugar in boiling water, then add some colouring to give the same appearance as its high-alcohol namesake and the result is a no-alcohol spirit.

The big names in the no alcohol spirits category are Seedlip and Lyre, while for wine it's the Spanish firm Torres plus own-brand supermarket bottlings.

But do they taste any good? I have yet to find a low alcohol wine that doesn't taste horrid while the no-alcohol spirits category is worth a try but they aren't direct alternatives to the alcohol alternatives as the flavours often have a harsher edge.


LoNo reviews on


Seedlip Spice 94 Non-alcoholic spirits

Seedlip Garden 108 Non-alcoholic spirits

Lyre's Aperitif Rosso No-alcoholic spirits



Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5% beer Citrus Pale Ale, 500ml



Co-op Low Alcohol Sauvignon Blanc

Co-op Low Alcohol Cabernet Tempranillo

Adnams 0.5 Cabernet Tempranilo 2018

Adnams 0.5 Garnacha Rosé 2017

Adnams 0.5 Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Torres Natureo 0.0% Muscat 2018

Torres Natureo 0.0% Cabernet Syrah Rosé 2018

Torres Natureo 0.0% Garnacha Syrah 2018

Torres Natureo 0.0% Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Sangre de Toro 2018 Low Alcohol Red

M&S Alcohol Free Sparkling Muscat

McGuigan Zero Chardonnay

Stippl Alcohol Free Sparkling White Wine

Stippl Alcohol Free Sparkling Rose Wine

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About WineUncorked and its editor, Paula Goddard Read more