Besides the overabundance of cheer, one of the primary pastimes that most celebrations have in common is a toast with some sort of celebratory beverage. That’s great for those who drink alcohol, but what about the rest of us who don’t partake in alcohol consumption? We don't want to be excluded from the festivities simply because we choose to be sober.
Well, non-alcoholic champagne just might be what we’ve been looking for. Although it isn't a new concept, it is still relatively fresh in the world of non-alcoholic beverages. And since the demand for such products has grown in recent years, the selection has grown as well.
Going out and tasting every type of non-alcoholic sparkling wine while trying to determine which is the best is no small task. That’s why we took all the hard work out of the equation, leaving you with nothing but the tastiest of results.
First, we will briefly discuss the basics of what non-alcoholic Champagne is, what it tastes like, and how it’s made before we get into our top three recommendations. So, let’s get to it!
Non-Alcoholic Champagne VS. Non-Alcoholic Wine
Before we get into what non-alcoholic or alcohol-free champagne is, let's get one thing straight: not all non-alcoholic champagne is authentic non-alcoholic champagne. An authentic bottle of alcohol-free Champagne is one that exclusively comes from the Champagne region of France.
Whereas non-alcoholic sparkling wine doesn’t have to be produced in any specific region or from any specific type of grapes. It’s for these reasons that when you take a trip to your local supermarket, you’ll probably only see non-alcoholic wine.
As a result, the term champagne is frequently used to define any bottle of wine, even when it’s not from France. For our purposes, we'll use the phrases interchangeably, as that's what most people are used to.
What is Non-Alcoholic Champagne?
The process in which non-alcoholic sparkling wine is made isn’t that different from that of a traditional white or red wine. The primary distinction is that, before the wine reaches the bottling process, the alcohol must be removed. But non-alcoholic wine is not to be confused with grape juice, which is merely unfermented juice. Non-alcoholic wine goes through the same processes as conventional wine, except they remove the alcohol at the end.
The result is a non-alcoholic wine that features the same flavors and aromas as the real deal, and with a less sugary taste than grape juice. There are three primary methods used to remove the alcohol which we will now go over.
This is the process in which steam is used to distill the alcohol from the wine. Essentially, the winemaker must heat the wine to the boiling point of ethanol, which is 176° F. The biggest issue with this technique is that some of the essential flavors and fragrances may evaporate or transform completely during the oxidation process.
Now, this can obviously have a considerable impact on the final product's quality and taste. To prevent this from happening, the winemaker will heat the wine in a fully sealed vacuum where the boiling temperature of ethanol falls to 80°F. At this lower level of boiling, the fantastic flavors of the wine will stay untouched. When they use vacuum distillation, they remove the alcohol while preserving the beloved qualities of champagne so many people love.
The next method, reverse osmosis, uses high pressure along with a membrane instead of heat to separate the alcohol from wine.
They force the wine against the super-thin membrane (or the barrier) which acts as a filter, separating water and alcohol from the fragrant components of the wine. The membrane features tiny holes that are so minuscule that the only substances that can pass through are water and alcohol. They collect the non-alcoholic wine on one side of the filter while they collect the alcohol and water combination on the other.
Finally, the vintner uses distillation to separate the water from the alcohol before adding the water back into the concentrated wine.
The third primary technique used to separate alcohol from wine is to use spinning cone technology.
They accomplish this by placing the wine in a column of cones that spin at incredibly high speeds, transforming the wine into an exceedingly thin film due to the centrifugal force. They introduce nitrogen gas into the cones which extract the aromas and flavor components, only leaving the water and alcohol in the cones.
The resulting mix of water and alcohol is run through the spinning cones once again, this time with an increase in temperature. This second run will separate the water from the alcohol so the vintner can remove the alcohol.
The final step is to mix the water back together with the aromas and flavor components to reveal the non-alcoholic sparkling wine result.
What Does Non-Alcoholic Champagne Taste Like?
This is a question we tend to hear quite a lot here at Sèchey. Long story short, most alcohol-free champagnes currently available are specifically designed to taste exactly like the real deal. Since they go through the same vinification process as alcoholic wine, non-alcoholic wine can have the same textures, aromas, and flavors. Because non-alcoholic wine can’t use alcohol to transfer these components over, they may be slightly subdued. This can result in it having a lighter mouthfeel than traditional wine.
Whether or not the vintner adds any grape juice to the dealcoholization process can also influence the non-alcoholic wine’s overall flavor and sweetness. But for the most part, the flavor profile should remain the same. Some winemakers add all sorts of botanicals like green tea to their non-alcoholic wine to add some texture. So, if you notice some fruity flavors and aromas, there’s your reason why.
Our Top 3 Picks
We have finally made it to the part you’ve been waiting for, where we name our top picks for the best non-alcoholic wine. We’ve tasted our fair share of non-alcoholic sparkling wines over the years, with some tasting fantastic and others leaving much to be desired. It compelled us to share our thoughts and opinions on what we humbly believe are the top 3 best non-alcoholic champagnes out there. And since we had a hard time only choosing three, we had to throw in an honorable mention.
Honorable Mention - Sovi Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Rosé
Before we get to the number one spot, we wanted to give some love to Sovi Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Rosé as an honorable mention. A sommelier-owned non-alcoholic wine company, Sovi makes it a point to partner with winemakers that use tried-and-true methods to match the texture, flavors, and aromas you get from the real thing. They source their sustainably grown Tempranillo grapes from California where their non-alcoholic wine embodies the tradition and history of renowned California winemaking. One of the first things we noticed was that this bubbly Rosé wasn’t as sweet as some of the other non-alcoholic wines we’ve tried. This is fantastic for anyone who likes to limit their sugar intake. It is on the dry side with some notes of cherry, grapefruit, strawberry, and watermelon, giving it a nice effervescence. We particularly liked the vibrant packaging as well, with its use of colorful shapes making it stand out amongst the crowd. And since it comes in an easy-to-open can, it’s perfect to take to a bar-b-q or pool party.
#3 - Jøyus Non-Alcoholic Sparkling White Wine
First up on our list at number three is the brainchild of Washington native Jessica Selander, Jøyus Non-Alcoholic Sparkling White Wine. Her major motivation in creating Jøyus was to craft non-alcoholic wines that would actually taste like the wines she missed since switching to a sober lifestyle. Some notes you’ll recognize are organic green apples, melons, and fresh pears, which allow you to enjoy the beverage with no nasty hangover. And we can vouch for these pairings that really bring out the natural flavors of all the ingredients. A great way we learned to experience Jøyus Non-Alcoholic Sparkling White Wine is to mix in some fresh berries along with a splash of your favorite fruit juice (we used cranberry). The result was a picture-perfect drink to enjoy on a nice sunny summer day with family, friends, and nothing but good times. We also loved the presentation with the fantastic Jøyus typography on the label sitting below their slogan, “Let’s Celebrate,“ calling on everybody, whether sober or not, to come together, socialize, and have a good time. And they’ve already won a bronze medal at the 2021 San Francisco International Wine Competition. So we’re not the only ones who think this beverage is the bee’s knees.
#2 - Grüvi's Non-Alcoholic Bubbly Rosé
Grüvi's Non-Alcoholic Bubbly Rosé is next on our list of the top alcohol-free wines. Grüvi, a family-owned and community-driven company, wants to create a non-exclusive community centered on making better choices in our everyday lives. A place where we can help others to be healthy while having fun, one non-alcoholic drink at a time. And their non-alcoholic bubbly rosé is a terrific way to do so. It starts its life with only the best hand-selected wine grapes which are smashed and combined with other natural ingredients before adding carbonation that gives the drink its effervescence. The flavors will appear tart with some richness on the backend, as well as notes of strawberry and green apple to round out the taste quite well. Someone suggested how it would pair perfectly with a scrumptious meat and cheese platter. As far as the presentation is concerned, we really liked the smaller bottles. Unlike traditional bigger bottles, we wouldn’t feel the need to finish the entire bottle out of fear it will go bad.
#1 - Grüvi’s Non-Alcoholic Dry Secco
Cue the drumroll for the number one spot on our list… Grüvi’s Non-Alcoholic Dry Secco. It may seem like we are schilling for Grüvi here, but we can assure you that is not the case. We just really enjoy their products and like what they’ve been doing and what they stand for. They craft their non-alcoholic prosecco in the same manner as their bubbly rosé, along with using the finest hand-selected grapes California offers. And what’s quite impressive is their list of ingredients, which is about as short as your dad’s fuse on Christmas morning. They only use citric acid, natural flavors, carbonated spring water, and white wine grapes to craft one outstanding non-alcoholic prosecco. Someone commented that it wasn’t overly sweet like say, a sparkling apple juice or Welch’s grape juice. You’ll notice notes of apple and pear, with some tart and floral endnotes. Another great thing we loved about Grüvi’s non-alcoholic prosecco is its branding. Although it may be on the minimal side, it still feels reminiscent of a premium, traditional wine. So, if you were to bring this to your next get-together, you wouldn’t feel the need to hide the label. It's some outstanding alcohol-free champagne that you will not be ashamed to drink in front of others.
Where to Buy Non-Alcoholic Wine?
This is a question that depends on where you live and availability. Sure, the non-alcoholic wine industry has grown immensely in recent years, but the products still aren’t readily available like their traditional alcoholic wine counterparts. That’s where online shopping saves the day. And while, there are plenty of sites that will just sell you any and everything under the non-alcoholic banner. The difference with Sèchey is we have carefully researched and tasted every non-alcoholic champagne before we feature them on our site. We wouldn’t sell any non-alcoholic beverage or brand on our site that we wouldn’t drink ourselves. And who doesn’t love shopping from the comfort of their home, relaxing on their couch? All you have to do is wait a few days for your order of fabulousness to arrive on your doorstep before you’re enjoying some of the tastiest non-alcoholic beverages you can find.