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Alcohol and Health

Is Non-Alcoholic Wine Healthy For You?

May 6, 2024
22 min read
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A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
May 6, 2024
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
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The Pros and Cons of Non-Alcoholic Wine

  • Non-alcoholic wine removes the negative effects of alcohol but comes with its own set of risks and considerations.
  • NA wine is a great alternative for those looking to quit or cut back on alcohol, but for minors and pregnant women, it can still be harmful.
  • Reframe is a reliable guide that helps you evaluate alcohol (and alternatives!) using the power of neuroscience.

Have you ever heard that a glass of red wine could have health benefits? Well, research has concluded that the negative effects of alcohol far outweigh any benefits that wine may have. But could non-alcoholic wine be the answer? 

Non-alcoholic wine is generally considered a healthier alternative as it removes the detrimental effects of alcohol from the equation. However, as with most things in life, balance is key. Excessive consumption of non-alcoholic wine can still have negative effects. Let’s uncork the details on what exactly non-alcoholic wine is and how it can impact our health.

What Is Non-Alcoholic Wine?

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Non-alcoholic wine is wine that goes through a process to have some or all of its alcohol removed. It starts out as alcoholic wine — going through the same fermentation process that gives it the same taste qualities. The alcohol is then removed using purification processes such as distillation and reverse osmosis. 

These processes of removing the alcohol from wine is what makes non-alcoholic wine distinct from simply grape juice. Its appeal is that it has the same qualities as wine — without the alcohol.

Non-alcoholic wine is known by several names:

  • Dealcoholized wine
  • Alcohol-free wine 
  • 0% wine
  • Zero-proof wine
  • NA wine

Although non-alcoholic wine goes through industrial processes to remove its alcohol, does all of it get removed?

Does Non-Alcoholic Wine Have Alcohol?

Despite its name, non-alcoholic wine can contain traces of alcohol. According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the beverage must be less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) to be labeled as non-alcoholic. 

As a comparison, most alcoholic wine has around 12% alcohol, and standard beer has around 5% alcohol. Kombucha, a fermented tea, can contain up to 0.5% ABV. Some kombuchas can even go up to 1%–2% ABV (although they require a special label at that level).

Let’s examine how non-alcoholic wine and alcoholic wine compare with each other.

Comparing Non-Alcoholic Wine and Alcoholic Wine

Non-alcoholic wine is distinct from grape juice or other flavored beverages due to its resemblance to wine. Let’s look at the two beverages side by side to see how they’re similar and different.


Dealcoholized wine is made the same way wine is made. Juice made from different parts of the grape is mixed with yeast, which initiates the fermentation process. Through this process, the sugars and starches are converted into alcohol — creating wine. Non-alcoholic wine goes through an additional process to remove the alcohol, changing the properties but preserving the taste. 

Since alcoholic wine and non-alcoholic wine are made in the same way using the same ingredients, the appearance and taste remain almost identical. Aside from these external factors, alcoholic wine and non-alcoholic wine are different in many aspects.


The alcohol component in wine accounts for the differences between the way wine and non-alcoholic wine impact us. Some negative effects of alcohol include the following:

  • Intoxication. Alcohol is a drug that targets our central nervous system (CNS) and impacts messaging in our brain. This can cause symptoms of intoxication, including loss of coordination, impaired thinking, slurred speech, and more.
  • Hangovers. While our liver works to break down alcohol, the toxins found in alcohol can continue to trigger different symptoms in our body, in particular the unpleasant symptoms of hangovers
  • Long-term health conditions. Alcohol is linked to an increased risk of developing many different health conditions. These may include liver disease, cardiovascular disease, GI issues, certain types of cancers, and more.
  • Poor mental health. Alcohol causes disruptions to our mood and stress tolerance. Prolonged or excessive drinking can cause low mood and can also lead to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. 
  • Disruptions to social life. Drinking can take up our time and mental energy. This can take a toll on the amount of effort we can put into our relationships. Consequently, a negative relationship with alcohol can push our loved ones away, cutting us off from the social support we may need.
  • Stunting of goals. An unhealthy relationship with alcohol can negatively affect our goals as it may disrupt key aspects of our life, such as education, employment, or relationships. 

Since non-alcoholic wines don’t contain significant amounts of alcohol, they are not associated with the negative impacts of alcohol. However, they do contain the same sweeteners and additives as alcoholic wine, which present a variety of potential risks:

  • Increased blood sugar. Wine (especially sparkling wine) can contain a high amount of sugar. Non-alcoholic wine can sometimes contain even higher levels of sugar or added flavors to adjust the taste after the alcohol is removed. In excess, non-alcoholic wine can increase our blood sugar level, opening the door to other health conditions.
  • Heightened insulin resistance. Prolonged periods of high blood sugar from excess sugar consumption can also lead to increased insulin resistance. This is commonly associated with weight gain and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Allergy symptoms. Although non-alcoholic wine has the alcohol removed, it still contains histamines. These chemicals are released by our immune system and can cause allergy symptoms. Those of us who are sensitive to histamines may experience a negative response from drinking non-alcoholic wine.
  • Acid reflux. Like alcoholic wine, non-alcoholic wine is a relatively high-acidity beverage. It can cause symptoms of acid reflux, especially in those of us who are already prone to experiencing acid reflux. 

Moderate amounts of non-alcoholic wine may not have significant effects on our health, making it a safer alternative to alcohol. Since non-alcoholic wine is free from the specific harms that alcohol can cause, does this mean it’s healthy?

Benefits of Choosing Non-Alcoholic Wine

Is Non-Alcoholic Wine Good for You?

With the removal of alcohol, non-alcoholic wine may actually deliver some health benefit due to the presence of compounds called polyphenols. They are also present in alcoholic wine, but the negative effects of the alcohol outweigh any benefits. Polyphenols are produced during the fermentation process and are associated with these positive effects:

  • Decreased blood pressure. Research shows that polyphenols have positive effects on blood pressure by improving the health of blood vessels. They also balance our gut bacteria and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Improved insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can lead to conditions such as diabetes. While the impact of polyphenols on insulin resistance is still being researched, studies show promising results.
  • Reduced oxidative stress. A study on polyphenols concluded that polyphenols help reduce oxidative stress, which can play a role in the prevention of many diseases.

Choosing non-alcoholic wine over its alcoholic counterpart can be a companion in a variety of health goals:

  • Maintaining a healthy liver. The toxins in alcohol can directly damage our liver. Since non-alcoholic wine removes that threat, it’s a friendlier option for liver health. 
  • Preventing dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it can cause excess fluid elimination. Choosing non-alcoholic wine helps us avoid dry mouth and other symptoms of dehydration.
  • Lower in calories. Calories in alcohol can quickly add up. While non-alcoholic wine isn’t calorie-free, it’s often has fewer calories than traditional alcohol, making it a great option for those of us looking to cut back.
  • Fewer sleep disruptions. While alcohol may help us fall asleep faster in some instances, it disrupts our normal sleeping patterns, robbing us of a quality night of rest. Non-alcoholic options don’t have the same negative impacts on our sleep.
  • Stable mood. Alcohol can cause a short-term boost in our mood while drinking, followed by a crash. Non-alcoholic wine doesn’t have the same effects on our brain chemistry, meaning we can stay a little more even-keeled. 

We’ve acknowledged that non-alcoholic wine is a healthier alternative to alcoholic wine, but how does it compare to other non-alcoholic drinks?

Non-Alcoholic Wine vs. Non-Alcoholic Beer

All alcohol-free versions of alcoholic beverages, such as non-alcoholic wine and non-alcoholic beer, must meet the requirement of falling under 0.5% ABV to be labeled “zero-alcohol.” From there, they start to have differences.

Non-alcoholic wine and non-alcoholic beer, for example, are produced differently and have different effects on our health. Because beer is produced from cereal grain, it is usually high in carbohydrates. Although non-alcoholic beer may be lower in carbs than regular beer, it still contains more carbs than wine. On the plus side, NA beer has electrolytes you won’t find in non-alcoholic wine. It’s not a replacement for an electrolyte powder or sports drink, but it can do more for hydration than regular beer (which is actually dehydrating!).

For those of us looking for a lower-carb option, non-alcoholic wine may be a better choice. However, it's important to note that non-alcoholic wine is often higher in sugar. The nutritional value may vary depending on the type of non-alcoholic wine and non-alcoholic beer.

Ultimately, the benefits of going booze-free are the same regardless of which type of beverage you choose. Non-alcoholic drinks are always going to be better options than their alcoholic counterparts.

But is it okay to drink non-alcoholic beer every day, or is it okay to finish a bottle of non-alcoholic wine in one go? Let's take a closer look at some potential risks of non-alcoholic drinks — wine in particular.

Disadvantages of Non-Alcoholic Wine

Non-alcoholic wine is generally a much better option than alcohol as it doesn’t cause the same harmful effects. However, it can have some negative impacts and potential risks:

  • Altered social perception of alcohol. Zero-alcohol drinks and alcohol look almost identical. Drinking non-alcoholic wine frequently can drive the normalization of alcohol. 
  • A gateway to alcohol consumption. This is especially true for the younger generation. While non-alcoholic wine may seem harmless as it contains only minimal traces of alcohol, young sippers can become accustomed to the taste and develop a habit of drinking. Eventually, they may transition from non-alcoholic wine to alcoholic beverages.
  • Distraction from the main issue. Oftentimes, an unhealthy relationship with alcohol can stem from a deeper issue. Switching to non-alcoholic wine will undoubtedly be beneficial for our health. However, it may distract us from resolving the root problem. 
  • Financial strain. Non-alcoholic wine may not be as costly as some high-end wines, but by no means is it inexpensive. In fact, entry-level NA wine is often twice the price of basic table wines. As with alcohol, non-alcoholic alternatives can still dry out our wallets, especially if consumed excessively.

Along with the potential risks, the qualities of non-alcoholic wine can make it a poor option for some of us.

Who Shouldn’t Drink Non-Alcoholic Wine?

While non-alcoholic wine is a useful alternative for those of us who are looking to quit or cut back on alcohol, it’s not suitable for everyone. Three groups in particular are advised to avoid non-alcoholic wine:

  • Pregnant women. Although non-alcoholic wine is labeled as zero-alcohol, it often still contains trace amounts. Research has found that any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); it is also linked to higher maternal mortalities.
  • Breastfeeding women. Mothers who are breastfeeding are also advised to avoid non-alcoholic wine. Alcohol is a water-soluble molecule, which means that it can pass freely through substances like breast milk. No “safe” amount of alcohol has been identified — suggesting that any amount of alcohol can impact a baby’s development. 
  • Underage children. This is a point of contention among many people. On one hand, non-alcoholic wine can allow children to take part in toasts while preventing underage drinking, which continues to be a significant public health issue. On the other hand, there’s not enough research to clearly understand the effects of even small amounts of alcohol. Since non-alcoholic wine resembles alcoholic wine, it also could serve as a gateway to the alcoholic version for young people who may grow accustomed to the taste. Despite differing opinions, those under the legal drinking age are advised to avoid non-alcoholic wine due to the potential risks.

Even for those of us who may not fall into these categories, being mindful of our consumption of non-alcoholic wine can help us live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Preventing Excess Consumption

An excess of anything can lead to potentially negative effects. For example, broccoli has many health benefits; however, if we eat too much, it can lead to bloating, gas, and stomach pain. Similarly, while non-alcoholic wine may be a healthier alternative than alcoholic wine, too much can be a bad choice. There are several strategies we can

implement to help us avoid excess consumption:

  • Track consumption. While non-alcoholic drinks may not need to be tracked as closely as alcoholic versions, having an idea of how much we’re drinking helps us to be more mindful. It’s similar to spending: sometimes we may not know if we’re spending too much until we start keeping a budget.
  • Explore hobbies/interests. Although non-alcoholic wine can serve as a replacement for alcohol, exploring activities outside of drinking can help us focus our attention elsewhere. We can rekindle our passion for an old hobby or sign up to try something completely new. A life inside the bubble of drinking can make it seem like that’s all there is. However, exploring our passions and interests can help us open up our world to lead a more fulfilling life.
  • Set limits. Pouring glass after glass can be easy, especially if we feel like non-alcoholic wine has no consequences. But setting limits — for example, enjoying it only on special occasions or when others are drinking alcohol — can help us avoid drinking too much.
  • Drink more water. Even without the alcohol, non-alcoholic wine can still contain other sweeteners and additives that may not be the best for your health. Drinking more water helps you avoid overconsuming non-alcoholic wine and keeps your cells and organs functioning optimally.

  • Consider mocktails. If you’re interested in non-alcoholic wine, you may also be interested in mocktails. Luckily, there are tons of healthy mocktail recipes that pack a nutritional punch, which NA wine can’t always claim to do.

While these practices are helpful to avoid excess consumption of non-alcoholic wine, we can also apply them to more mindful alcohol consumption and balance in other areas of our life.

Avoiding “Pour” Decisions

Non-alcoholic wine, among other zero-alcohol beverages, is a better alternative to alcohol, especially when we’re looking to quit or cut back. It’s everything that wine has to offer without the detrimental effects of alcohol. That being said, the minimal traces of alcohol in non-alcoholic wine make it a poor alternative for pregnant or breastfeeding women and underage drinkers. Non-alcoholic wine is a healthier option, but drinking too much of it can still have negative effects. Non-alcoholic wine is fine, as long as we don’t cross the line!

Summary FAQs:

1. Does non-alcoholic wine contain alcohol?

Non-alcoholic wine can contain traces of alcohol. To be declared non-alcoholic, a beverage must be less than 0.5%ABV.

2. Does non-alcoholic wine taste the same as alcoholic wine?

Since non-alcoholic wine is made the same way as alcoholic wine but filtered to remove the alcohol, the taste is similar.

3. Is non-alcoholic wine better than alcoholic wine for our health?

Non-alcoholic wine doesn’t have the same intoxicating and long-term health effects that alcohol does.

4. Is it okay to drink non-alcoholic wine every day?

Although non-alcoholic wine doesn’t contain significant amounts of alcohol, excessive consumption may still have adverse effects on our health.

5. What are the risks of consuming excessive amounts of non-alcoholic wine?

Excessive consumption of non-alcoholic wine can increase our overall sugar intake. Additionally, research on the impacts of non-alcoholic wine on alcohol-related harms has not yet been conducted.

Drink Less and Thrive With Reframe

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