Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
How is "lite" or low-alcohol wine made? Are there any that are simply diluted with water or grape juice?
—Maurie R., Silver Spring, Md.
The standard way to make non-, low-, or de-alcoholized wines is to make "normal" wine and then take the alcohol out. Most of the time, the wine goes through a type of distillation or is forced through a filter to remove the alcohol. It's really difficult (and expensive) to completely remove all the alcohol, and usually there will still be traces of it in the final product. As a result, a wine can be called "nonalcoholic" and still have up to half a percent of alcohol by volume. If you want a completely alcohol-free beverage, look for those words: "alcohol free." I'm not aware of anyone watering down wine to make a low-alcohol product, except for my friend who pours her Chardonnay over a big glass of ice.
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