Does Dealcoholized Wine Have Health Benefits?

Red wine

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

It appears that dealcoholized wine might have some health benefits, but it's difficult to know for sure because most studies are done with regular wine.

Dealcoholized wine is just regular wine that's had almost all the alcohol removed. There may be a tiny amount left, but it's less than half of one percent by volume—that's small enough to be officially labeled as "alcohol-free."

Even though dealcoholized wine doesn't have all the alcohol of regular wine (typically around 13-14 percent by volume), it should have about the same amount of polyphenols that are the natural plant chemicals found in the skins of grapes (as well as other fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds).

Antioxidant Benefits of Polyphenols

These chemicals act as antioxidants that may protect your cells from free radical damage. Red wines have more of these polyphenols than whites because the grape skins are removed before making white wines.

Some epidemiological studies have found a correlation between drinking small to moderate amounts of red wine with fewer deaths due to cardiovascular disease. The alcohol may play some part in the protection, but scientists believe the antioxidant properties of these polyphenols are the main reason for the potential health benefits. The polyphenols include:

  • Myricetin
  • Kaempferol
  • Quercetin
  • Catechin
  • Epicatechin
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • Anthocyanins
  • Gallic acid
  • Caftaric acid
  • Caffeic acid
  • P-coumaric acid
  • Resveratrol

There aren't any studies that indicate drinking dealcoholized wine will reduce your risk of any particular diseases.

But there is some research on how it compares with regular red wine for blood concentrations of some of the polyphenols and how they affect some of the biochemical markers that are associated with cardiovascular disease. These studies indicate regular wine has a bigger effect, but dealcoholized wine does improve some of these markers as well.

Dealcoholized wine has fewer calories than red wine (about 1/4 to 1/3 the calories, according to the winemakers). And you won't run the risk of consuming too much alcohol when you drink dealcoholized wine.

Dealcoholized wine starts out as real fermented wine, but before it's bottled, it's either filtered or put through a spinning process that removes both the water and the alcohol. Next, the volume is replaced with water or a combination of water and unfermented grape juice.

How does dealcoholized wine taste? I would guess that most oenophiles would struggle with the difference because alcohol contributes significantly to the body, bouquet, and flavor of wines, both red and white. The white dealcoholized wines are a little closer to their fully alcoholized cousins, but if you love a big, full-bodied Cabernet, it may take some time to adapt to the weaker flavor of the dealcoholized version.

But, on the other hand, it doesn't taste like grape juice either. A dealcoholized red wine still has a hint of the tannins, and it isn't as sweet as plain juice.

Please note that even though dealcoholized wine is essentially alcohol-free, you should still speak to your health care provider before consuming it if you are pregnant or have been told you need to avoid alcohol.

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Article Sources

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