After the indulgences of Christmas – and a very difficult 2020 – it may be time to take a step away from booze. If you’re looking to cut back this January, whatever your reasons, thankfully there are now plenty of decent options to choose from.
From beer and spirits to wine, drinks makers have been busy in recent years, creating an ever-expanding range of low and no-alcohol products. And when it comes to wine, you now have the pick of the bunch. Whether your taste leans towards whites, reds, rosés, or even sparkling wines, there’s an alcohol-free option for you.
Whatever your preconceptions, it's true to say that alcohol-free products across the board just keep getting better as production techniques are tweaked and improved. However, it’s also important to have realistic expectations.
The products in our round-up represent what we think are the best. But, from the complexity of flavour, the thick mouthfeel of wine, and the length of finish, there’s some things alcohol-free products can struggle to replicate. If you’re not completely abstaining, products with a trace amount of alcohol, around 0.5 per cent, do tend to do better on these counts.
In our list, we’re looking for products that are satisfying, have enough complexity to be intriguing, and crucially, that we’d be happy to drink more than one glass of. Overall, alcohol-free wines can lean towards being a little sweet and cloying, so we’re looking for products that are balanced, and represent a good alternative to their full-strength counterparts. Raise a glass to our pick of the best.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Thomson & Scott Noughty alcohol free organic sparkling wine
Lifelong vegetarian Amanda Thomson set up Thomson & Scott as a healthier, low-sugar, vegan-friendly alternative to prosecco and other sparkling wines. Made with organic chardonnay grapes from southern Spain, the wine is then de-alcoholised via vacuum distillation, and then lightly carbonated. This means that the wine retains its flavour and gives you then gentle bubbles you’d expect from a sparkling wine.
This wine scored highly for its delicate floral aroma and good level of fizz though we found it did dissipate fairly quickly. Dry with a touch of sweetness towards the finish, there’s the level acidity you want from a sparkling wine. In short, when it comes to booze-free-fizz, Noughty is as close to the real thing as we’ve found.
Buy now £8.75, The Whiskey Exchange
Leitz eins zwei zero riesling
Tangy, zesty and full-bodied, this sips like some of our favourite rieslings. The Leitz family have been producing wine since 1744, though some of its more recent offerings include a range of alcohol-free wines. There’s sparkling and rosé wines to choose from, but our pick is the riesling. It’s sweet, but has the complexity to carry it off, with hints of peach, pear, rhubarb, and a little dryness towards the finish, alongside a lingering hint of lime. We recommend serving this one as chilled as possible.
Buy now £6.99, The Champagne Company
Adnams 0.5 garnacha rosé
Better known for its beer and spirits, Southwold-based Adnams sources grapes from Spain to make its range of low-strength wines. As the name gives away, there is a trace amount of alcohol in its range, consisting of a red, white and a rosé. Adnams says it uses state-of-the-art spinning cone technology to remove alcohol from full-strength wine, in the gentlest way possible, retaining the aromatics and flavour.
Though we very much enjoyed the red, a cabernet tempranillo, our pick is the garnacha rosé which we feel is as flavoursome as the real deal. Thick, full, not overly sweet, and with a hint of raspberry and a little strawberry, this easy drinker is ripe for summer. But that’s a while away, so we’re tucking in now.
Buy now £4.45, Adnams
Torres Natureo de-alcoholised red
Hailing from one of Spain’s biggest producers, Torres brought out the first of its alcohol-free wines in 2007. This one is made entirely from syrah grapes. The wine is fermented and barrel aged in French oak, before the alcohol is removed, meaning there’s plenty of flavour left behind. Rich with notes of blackcurrant, hibiscus, and something a little toasty from the wood, we think this could benefit from being a little drier, but its still a tasty option.
Buy now £5.99, Waitrose
McGuigan zero sparkling alcohol free
Tannin-rich and restrained, this sparkling number from McGuigan is one of the more authentic tasting alcohol-free wines we’ve come across. Pleasingly dry, with a little apricot and pear and a delicate creaminess from the bubbles, it’s balanced and has a solid mouthfeel. Alongside de-alcoholised wine, a grape juice concentrate has been added to bolster things up, and it shows. There’s a little sharpness towards the finish and a lingering dryness. A great brunch accompaniment, it pairs well with smoked salmon.
Buy now £5.00, Morrisons
Eisberg sauvignon blanc
Eisberg also de-alcoholises its wines in a way that keeps as much of the original flavour and character of the wine as possible. The six-strong range includes a chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, sparkling blanc, rosé, and sparkling rosé. But we think the sauvignon blanc stands out as one of the better alcohol-free still white wines we’ve tasted. There’s a thick mouthfeel, green apple, and the touch of peach and gooseberry are a little sweet, but still balanced.
Buy now £3.50, Tesco
Harvey Nichols alcohol-free sparkling chardonnay
Treat yourself with Harvey Nichols’s non-alcoholic, vegetarian-friendly wine made from the juice of chardonnay grapes. Undoubtedly pricey compared to some of the other products on our list, we’ve included this fizz for its mixability and fruity notes. Though not exactly true to the dryness we expect from a full-strength sparkler, this wine is sweet, with a nose dominated by lemon and elderflower, and guava and lime to sip. We enjoyed it in a non-alcoholic spritz when mixed with a de-alcoholised vermouth. Or for something more simple, add mineral water and crushed mint.
Buy now £10.00, Harvey Nichols
Hardys alcohol free chardonnay
Made using the same Australian grapes as Hardys varietal range chardonnay, this alcohol-free version has been de-alcoholised to leave a full-bodied wine with some strong, fruity notes. Crisp, with a nice acidity that works well with food and a long finish, we found it coats the mouth like a wine would – a characteristic many others don’t quite manage to pull off. Best at its coldest, we recommend this served from the freezer. Pair with grilled chicken, prawns or salad.
£5.00, The Alcohol Free Co.
McGuigan zero rosé, 0%
Offer outstanding value, this delicate rosé is fruity, zesty and moreish. There’s a slightly fizzy mouthfeel, which provides a little interest, and helps to add to the sensation of drinking a full strength product. It also avoids many of the other pitfalls of non-alcoholic wines; namely sweetness. Whereas some alternative rosés can be overly perfumed and sweet, this balances delicate notes of strawberry and citrus with a crisp finish and lightly spritzed fine bubbles. Delicious.
Buy now £3.50, Morrisons
The verdict: Non alcoholic and alcohol free wines
For a sparkling treat we recommend Thomson & Scott Noughty alcohol free organic sparkling wine for being a great all-rounder, with an authentic taste, and full aroma, something many other alcohol-free wines failed to capture. However, Leitz eins zwei zero riesling is a standout still white wine, while Adnams 0.5 garnacha rosé is both excellent value for money and our pick of the many rosés available.