We were pleasantly surprised by this bubbly alternative to our go-to glass of prosecco. Made by David Rowledge of Alchemy Wines, it looks like an alcoholic fizz in the glass and keeps its bubbles while drinking, so it really does feel like a treat to sip, ideal for non-drinkers to join a celebratory toast.
Giving up alcohol isn’t just reserved for Dry January any more. An increasing number of people are choosing to kick the booze for a variety of reasons, including a desire to lose weight or to improve mental health. In fact, a recent survey from SENTIA found that four in 10 UK adults have cut out alcohol, or are trying to.
While non-drinkers used to be stuck nursing sweet, fizzy drinks or water on a night out, there is now a wide range of non-alcoholic tipples available as an alternative. These are particularly good for anyone who finds it difficult to break from the routine of pouring a drink, or who still wants to feel like they’re treating themselves without risking a bad head the next day.
However, although booze-free beer has long been a decent proposition, finding a good non-alcoholic wine is trickier, as it’s difficult to reproduce the finish and flavour without alcohol. These are usually produced by leaving out the alcohol entirely, or by removing the alcohol at the last stage, to help replicate the taste of ordinary wine. “Techniques have improved and, with a lot of trial and error, you can now find whites that are crisp and dry, or reds showing lots of body and tannins,” says Tom Proctor, director of The Alcohol Free Co Ltd. “We find customers are always looking for the most realistic taste, which changes constantly as new wines are added to the market.”
Bear in mind that UK government guidance says alcohol-free drinks may contain up to 0.05 per cent ABV, while de-alcoholised drinks that have had the alcohol removed should not be more than 0.5 per cent, so some of these are still not suitable for anyone wishing to avoid alcohol completely. For the avoidance of doubt, all the wines we tested and included here have 0 per cent alcohol.
When choosing, it’s worth remembering alcohol-free wines are generally sweeter than normal wines, so varieties that mimic sweeter drinks – such as prosecco or riesling – often taste more convincing. Drinks with bubbles also offer a similar mouthfeel to the real thing too, so opt for fizz to (almost) fool yourself into thinking you’re sipping its boozy counterpart.
How we tested
We tested all these wines exactly as we would their alcoholic alternative, swirling and sipping to make the most of each vino’s flavours and smell. For each, we judged the taste, aroma and appearance, and rated how similar it was to normal wine, plus how satisfied we’d be enjoying a glass after a long day or on a night out.
The best alcohol-free wines for 2023 are:
- Best overall – Community.Co zero alcohol sparkling white NV: £5.49, Virginwines.co.uk
- Best budget bubbles – Zerozecco sparkling white alcohol-free: £2.79, Aldi.co.uk
- Best sparkling rosé – Belle & Co. sparkling rose alcohol-free wine: £2.85, Amazon.co.uk
- Best chardonnay alternative – Hardys zero chardonnay: £5, Morrisons.com
- Best organic option – Vilarnau alcohol-free sparkling white wine: £7.50, Amazon.co.uk
- Best prosecco – Lyre’s classico grande: £9.99, Lyres.co.uk
- Best red wine – Eisberg merlot alcohol-free wine: £3.25, Tesco.com
- Best white wine – Torres Natureo white, 0.0 per cent alcohol: £6, Tesco.com
- Best bottle for a special occasion – French Bloom le blanc organic French bubbly: £32, Honestgrapes.co.uk
- Best fruity fizz – Scavi & Ray alcohol-free sparkling wine: £8.99, Virginwines.co.uk
- Best sauvignon blanc – McGuigan zero sauvignon blanc: £4, Tesco.com