ask dr. vinny

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. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


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.

Dear Maurie,

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.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories