We often get inquiries about the sugar content of our alcohol-free wines. Fair enough. Sugar has been a hot-button topic for quite some time now and it is generally understood that less is better and “added” sugar should be used with a light touch. Some would prefer that our wines had no added sugar at all, but we can assure you that you wouldn’t drink them.
First, a little about how alcohol-free wines are made. Almost all of the wines we import begin as a wine containing alcohol. Using a vacuum distillation process the alcohol is gently removed at a low temperature. What remains is the base wine, with its acidity, aromas, and flavour profile. The winemaker’s next task is to balance the wine. Alcohol normally balances out this acidity, but in its absence the only natural option is adding sugar (usually from grape must). If too little is added, you end up with a thin, tart wine leaning towards vinegar. If too much is added, it can be cloyingly sweet. Balance is the key. Two alcohol-free wines can have the same amount of sugar added, but if they have different acidity levels, one will taste sweeter than the other.
The wines we import contain anywhere between 2.8-4+ grams of sugar per 100ml or 21-30 grams of sugar per 750ml bottle. A good sparkling wine needs more sugar because it usually begins with more acidity than a still wine. While a non-alcoholic wine will contain more sugar than a dry wine with alcohol, it contains only about a quarter of the calories.
So maybe you’ve made the decision to remove alcohol from your life or drink less of it. How do alcohol free beverages fit into a healthier lifestyle? Personally, I believe in following the middle ground. I am leery of wellness experts that demonize any food. The Heart & Stroke foundation recommends that no more than 10% (and ideally less than 5%) of our total calories come from added sugars. The American Heart & Stroke foundation is more conservative and recommends no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men.
With this recommendation and knowledge of my own health status, I feel I can comfortably enjoy a couple of alcohol-free glasses of wine a day, should I choose. And strangely enough, with the alcohol removed, it isn’t hard to put the cork back on after a few sips!
- Margaret, Co-Founder at Clearsips
Margaret is a Certified Professional Life Coach, Certified Professional Recovery Coach and a Certified She Recovers Coach. She holds a B.A in Psychology, a Masters Degree in Education and has worked in the field of Education for over 30 years.