Exploring the Art of Non-Alcoholic Winemaking

With Dry January well underway, many consumers are looking for non-alcoholic alternatives to their favorite alcoholic beverages. Thankfully, the wine industry has stepped up to the challenge, introducing a myriad of exciting options over the last couple of years. This category has experienced remarkable growth, with a 31.2% increase in volume in 2023 compared to the previous year, according to NielsenIQ.

One winery that has gained considerable attention in the non-alcoholic wine scene is Giesen. Established in New Zealand in 1981, Giesen has been producing exceptional wines. However, it wasn’t until early 2020 that they ventured into the world of zero-alcohol wines. Recently, their head winemaker, Duncan Shouler, hosted an online tasting where he divulged the unique winemaking process employed to maintain the delightful aromas and flavors while removing the alcohol.

The key to producing high-quality non-alcoholic wines, as Duncan Shouler emphasized, lies in using top-notch grapes and employing a delicate alcohol removal process. Interestingly, this process bears some resemblance to the techniques utilized in the perfume industry to extract fragrances.

Giesen has successfully developed and released an impressive range of seven different varieties of non-alcoholic wines. These include sparkling brut, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, rosé, riesling, merlot, and a red blend. Not only are these wines satisfyingly low in calories and carbs, ranging from 19 to 33 calories and 4.5 to 9 carbs per 5-ounce serving, but they also boast suggested retail prices between $16 and $19.99 in the U.S.

Giesen’s winemaking process for non-alcoholic wines follows several key steps. First, they focus on growing the grapes sustainably, ensuring they are certified sustainable by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. Then, the grapes undergo fermentation in the same fashion as traditional wines. White and rosé wines are aged in tanks, while red wines are fermented and aged with oak chips and staves, imparting hints of toasty oak.

To remove the alcohol, Giesen utilizes spinning cone technology, which effectively extracts aromas from the wine. Through controlled heating, the alcohol is gently removed. Afterward, all the components are blended, combining the aromas with the dealcoholized wine and a small amount of pure grape juice. This results in wines with an alcohol content of 0.35 to 0.4%, similar to fruit juices.

The tasting experience with Giesen zero-alcohol wines reveals a marked improvement in the quality and taste of non-alcoholic wines. The Giesen Pinot Grigio and Sparkling Brut particularly stand out, but all six wines have their unique appeal. From the flavorsome and refreshing Rosé to the complex and aromatic Red Blend, these zero-alcohol wines are now viable options for Dry January and beyond.

As the market continues to respond positively to Giesen’s offerings, the winery has also delved into mixology, developing an exciting database of wine cocktail recipes. Whether enjoyed on their own or as a base for creative concoctions, Giesen’s non-alcoholic wines have carved a niche in the industry, offering an exquisite and sophisticated alcohol-free alternative for all wine enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Giesen’s Non-Alcoholic Wines:

1. What has been the growth rate of the non-alcoholic wine category?
According to NielsenIQ, the non-alcoholic wine category experienced a 31.2% increase in volume in 2023 compared to the previous year.

2. When did Giesen start producing non-alcoholic wines?
Giesen, a winery established in New Zealand in 1981, ventured into the non-alcoholic wine scene in early 2020.

3. What is the key to producing high-quality non-alcoholic wines?
Giesen’s head winemaker, Duncan Shouler, emphasized that using top-notch grapes and employing a delicate alcohol removal process are key to producing high-quality non-alcoholic wines. The process has similarities to the fragrance extraction techniques used in the perfume industry.

4. What are the varieties of non-alcoholic wines offered by Giesen?
Giesen offers seven different varieties of non-alcoholic wines: sparkling brut, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, rosé, riesling, merlot, and a red blend.

5. What are the calorie and carb content of Giesen’s non-alcoholic wines?
Giesen’s non-alcoholic wines are low in calories and carbs, ranging from 19 to 33 calories and 4.5 to 9 carbs per 5-ounce serving.

6. What is Giesen’s winemaking process for non-alcoholic wines?
Giesen follows several key steps in their winemaking process for non-alcoholic wines: sustainably growing certified grapes, fermentation, aging, alcohol removal using spinning cone technology, blending the aromas with the dealcoholized wine and grape juice.

7. What alcohol content do Giesen’s non-alcoholic wines have?
Giesen’s non-alcoholic wines have an alcohol content of 0.35 to 0.4%, similar to fruit juices.

8. Which Giesen non-alcoholic wines stand out in terms of quality and taste?
According to the article, Giesen Pinot Grigio and Sparkling Brut particularly stand out, but all six wines have their unique appeal.

9. Does Giesen offer mixology options with their non-alcoholic wines?
Yes, Giesen has delved into mixology and developed a database of wine cocktail recipes using their non-alcoholic wines.

10. What is the market response to Giesen’s non-alcoholic wines?
The market has responded positively to Giesen’s non-alcoholic wines, and they offer an exquisite and sophisticated alcohol-free alternative for wine enthusiasts.

Key Terms and Definitions:
– Non-alcoholic wine: A wine that has undergone a process to remove or significantly reduce the alcohol content, resulting in a low or no alcohol beverage.
– Spinning cone technology: A method used to remove alcohol from wine by spinning it at high speeds and applying controlled heat to extract the alcohol while preserving the aromas and flavors.

Related Links:
Giesen Official Website