How to Dealcoholize Cider and Wine

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Dealcoholize Cider and Wine
Dealcoholize Cider and Wine

All the flavor of wine; none of the alcohol? Is that really possible?

Things You'll Need

  • Wine
  • Time

Commercial Alcohol Removal: Commercial wineries can reduce or remove the alcohol using physics. They use reverse osmosis systems to extract the heavy material in the wine from the light material. In this case, they are removing the alcohol and the water leaving just the wine "flavor". Then the wine is re-hydrated and bottled. All the flavor, none of the alcohol? No, these wines get very poor reviews. They lack the character that real wine has. Others believe that the flavor is compromised because of the process.

Home Alcohol Removal: There is an option for doing this at home. Take a pot and put the wine in it. Turn the heat on medium-low. Allow it to heat until it gets up to 140 degrees. You can use a meat thermometer. Then, maintain the 140 for about 45 minutes. That should remove about 95% of the alcohol. From there, let the wine cool, covered. Put it back in the bottle. If you lost a lot of volume, it's because the water evaporated. Put some distilled water or filtered water in it to bring it back to its original consistency. So, how well does this work? Well, it's inconsistent and you cannot get all of the alcohol out, just most of it. The wine will oxidize a bit from the heat so it will lose some of its vibrant color and flavor. The potency of the acid is affected as well. You will be left with a flat tasting wine.

Other Options: For many years people have been using bacteria to remove alcohol from wine. The problem here is in the way that bacteria works. It takes one chemical and turns it into another so if you introduce a bacteria to a wine, the alcohol will be removed but, another chemical in the wine will be increased which can affect its flavor. Many bacteria of this type also will render your wine vulnerable to attack from other suck bacteria which can cause the wine to spoil. I would not recommend this process either.

I suppose this is a non-traditional approach to a how-to article but, the point is that the removal of alcohol is detrimental to the character of the wine as alcohol contributes to the ph and flavor of the wine. However, now you know how to do it if you want to. Secondly, the process of removing the alcohol causes unpleasant effects in many cases and if that doesn't convince you then consider this. Alcohol is a preservative so, if you remove it, you have to add another preservative. Alcohol in moderation is a much healthier route to go than adding preservatives to your diet. My recommendation for those who want to enjoy a refined product that is non-alcoholic, is coffee (my 2nd favorite).

Tips & Warnings

  • Do step 2 outside and away from children. Alcohol inhalation is actually worse than ingestion.
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