What is Considered Low Alcohol Wine?
If you feel like the low and no-alcohol section of your local bottle-o or supermarket gets bigger every year, you’d be right. There is plenty of data to suggest the demand for these wines is certainly growing among health-conscious drinkers.
So, what exactly constitutes a low alcohol wine? According to Wine Australia,* low-alcohol wines must contain less than 1.15% alcohol by volume to claim this name. A de-alcoholise wine, one in which alcohol has mostly been removed after fermentation will typically have between 0.5 – 1.0% alcohol.
Read on to learn all you need to know about low and no alcohol wines.
How is Low Alcohol and No Alcohol Wine Made?
Removing alcohol from wine is quite a technical process, as the winemaker will want to retain as much aromatic profile as possible. Grape juice sugar concentration and ethanol concentration in wine can be reduced using a range of techniques, including reverse osmosis, vacuum distillation and spinning cone distillation (which are regularly used in the Australian and New Zealand wine industries). These techniques offer precise and effective control of ethanol, utilising complex (and very expensive) equipment.
The process of removing the alcohol can have an impact on flavour and quality, and it’s often the larger wine companies who can afford the technology to make these types of wines, hence why they are often leading the charge.
Are Some Wines Naturally Lower in Alcohol?
The good news is that if you’re looking to shift to wine naturally lower in alcohol, there is plenty of choice. There are a few factors that will determine a wine’s naturally lower alcohol level, including the grape itself and the environment in which its grown. For example, grapes that are grown in cooler climates are less likely to become overly ripe and many have lower alcohol levels than the warm climate counterparts. Therefore, with less sugar to ferment, the outcome will mean a lower alcohol wine.
Does Billy Button Make Any Low or No Alcohol Wines?
While we don’t specifically set out to make low-alcohol wines, naturally some of our wines are lower in alcohol than others. These are typically sparkling and white wines, such as our NV Billy Button Prosecco, Billy Button ‘The Torment’ Riesling and Billy Button Sweet Billy.
There are plenty of fantastic options out there for people looking for a non-alcoholic choice that feels ‘adult’. Recently our winemaking team have dabbled in consumption (think four babies in two vintages) of several of the options and the mums in our team definitely rate some of the more botanical driven options out there. Jo and Glenn also often reach for a non-alcoholic beer during vintage. However, for the moment, we’ll continue to make and savour our alcoholic wines, in moderation.
Looking for a lower alcohol option from Billy Button? Maybe start with our Prosecco which is just 10.5%.
Keen to know more about what’s in your wine? Read on:
*Wine Australia ‘Low alcohol wine guide: Light, low and no alcohol descriptors’, September 2021.