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Drinking Habits

Non-Alcoholic Champagne: Is It Good for You?

May 7, 2024
15 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
May 7, 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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The Facts About Alcohol-Free Champagne

  • Non-alcoholic drinks are gaining in popularity for many reasons, including calorie watching and cutting back on or stopping alcohol consumption. 
  • Non-alcoholic champagne has just 25% of the calories of traditional champagne.
  • Check out the Reframe app for more interesting articles and tips to incorporate healthy choices into your life!

From Thanksgiving until New Year's Day, champagne toasts are not just customary; they’re the norm. But what if you’re trying to limit your alcohol intake during the holiday season? Don’t worry. All is not lost. Non-alcoholic champagne offers a traditional champagne “dupe” designed to look like the real thing. The color and taste mimic real champagne, too, and the bubbles provide that fizzy sensation as you sip. No one will ever suspect you’re drinking a non-alcoholic version.

Let’s take a closer look at what this stuff is, who drinks it, and what it tastes like. And perhaps most importantly, is it healthy for us?

Who Drinks Non-Alcoholic Champagne?

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The demand for non-alcoholic beverages has risen. According to an August 2023 study by Consumer Reports, about four in 10 people had tried a non-alcoholic beverage. Non-alcoholic champagne held less interest than its counterparts, with only 12% reporting having tried it. But this isn’t surprising since champagne is not the usual beverage of choice during the non-holiday season. Even so, the non-alcoholic champagne market is growing with an 83% increase in sales during 2023 compared to the previous year (BevAlc Insights, 2023)

So what accounts for this increasing interest in non-alcoholic beverages? Some of us are seeking an alcohol alternative because alcohol is no longer part of our lives, or we want to cut back. And some of us have discovered the simple fact that non-alcoholic sparkling wine and champagne produced today taste delicious! It’s bubbly, refreshing, and doesn’t do any of the damage that alcohol does. It’s safe to say this is not a second-rate alternative.

What Is Non-Alcoholic Champagne?

Non-alcoholic champagne falls under the general category of sparkling wine and is produced the same way as traditional wine but the alcohol is removed before bottling. The one exception is non-alcoholic champagne bottled in Europe, which still contains a small but measurable amount of alcohol (0.5%). Non-alcoholic wines produced in the U.S. are virtually alcohol-free, containing only minor traces. (For context, the alcohol content of traditional champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine is about 12%.) 

Sparkling Grape Juice: Is It the Same as Non-Alcoholic Champagne?

The short answer is no, they aren’t the same. Non-alcoholic champagne aims to replicate the taste of traditional champagne, while sparkling grape juice is known for its sweetness and effervescence. They differ in their production processes, flavor profiles, and the occasions for which they are commonly used. Let’s take a look. 

  • Production. Sparkling grape juice is not the same as non-alcoholic sparkling wine or champagne. Regardless of the packaging, sparkling grape juice is produced differently from non-alcoholic champagne. Sparkling grape juice comes from white grape juice and ferments longer to create carbonation. In technical terms, sparkling grape juice never goes through the vinification process of traditional or non-alcoholic champagne. 
  • Flavor profile. Non-alcoholic champagne aims to replicate the taste of traditional champagne, including the various grape varietals and their characteristic flavors. They tend to offer a more complex flavor profile than sparkling grape juice. Sparkling grape juice is known for its sweet, fruity taste. It’s often simpler in flavor and lacks the depth found in non-alcoholic wines and champagne.
  • Occasions and pairing. Non-alcoholic champagne often serves as an alternative when we want to enjoy the taste and experience of wine without the alcohol. They do well for more formal occasions or pairing with meals. Sparkling grape juice, on the other hand, often serves as a celebratory or festive beverage at events where alcohol may not be appropriate, such as family gatherings or parties involving children. That said, though sparkling grape juice is considered alcohol-free and often advertised as such, it may contain varying amounts of alcohol depending on its producer. Therefore, parents or pregnant women should be cautious. Read the bottle’s label to ensure it is truly alcohol free.
Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Champagne

How Is Non-Alcoholic Champagne Made?

As previously noted, non-alcoholic champagne is made the same way  — almost — as traditional wine, with the juice from grapes fermented in a vat or tank, sometimes with added yeast. The one major difference: the alcohol is removed.  

How is the alcohol removed? Vacuum distillation is the most commonly used way to remove alcohol from the wine. The wine is placed in a container and heated during this operation, which vaporizes the alcohol. To preserve the wine’s taste and quality, winemakers maintain a temperature between 70 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (but never higher). Finally, the wine is put into a centrifuge, spinning at a very high speed. With the alcohol removed from the wine, only the original wine flavor remains. It’s the same basic principle in dishes cooked with wine. Think about that lovely beef bourguignon: It’s cooked in quite a bit of red wine, but when it’s finished the alcohol is gone and the flavor remains.

The Best Non-Alcoholic Champagnes: Taste vs. Cost

When it comes to price, non-alcoholic champagne is no different from traditional champagne; there are inexpensive, medium-priced, and expensive bottles. The choice comes down to personal preference and budget. Mid-range champagne, for example, sells for about $18 to $44 per bottle. These prices seem like a bargain compared to Dom Perignon, but they’re still not chump change. On the other hand, you can buy a bottle of alcohol-free champagne for about $5. It all depends on what meets your needs. Of course, the best way to find out is by trying them and finding your favorites.

The Big Question: Is Non-Alcoholic Champagne Good for You?

Overall, non-alcoholic champagne and other non-alcoholic wines are a better choice than the alcoholic versions for a variety of reasons.

  • It’s good for your heart. Polyphenols — powerful antioxidants found in red- and white-skinned grapes — decrease inflammation and stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Alcohol-free champagne contains polyphenols, offering the same health benefits as wine minus the alcohol. 
  • Better sleep. For many of us, alcohol has a sedating effect, making us feel relaxed, sluggish, sleepy, or even woozy. We may even believe having a nightcap before bedtime might lead to a good night’s sleep. But that’s a fallacy. According to Mind & Mood (2019) alcohol’s initial sedating effects, other side effects kick in and interfere with sleep quality. Specifically, alcohol raises the body's level of epinephrine, a stress hormone that increases the heart rate and is responsible for nighttime awakenings.
  • Relaxation and comfort at night. Alcohol relaxes throat muscles, which can worsen sleep-related breathing problems and contribute to sleep apnea. Because of its diuretic properties, alcohol often increases the need to urinate during the night, further disrupting our sleep. Switching to non-alcoholic champagne, especially late in the evening, is one way to avoid these negative effects and improve sleep quality.
  • No blackouts, benders, or hangovers. There’s nothing like waking up hungover after a night of having “one too many.” Making matters worse, whole chunks of the night may be impossible to remember. Alcohol-free champagne causes none of the disabling consequences associated with drinking traditional champagne or other alcoholic beverages. We can drink to our heart’s content and wake up with a clear head (and conscience), remembering the fun we had the night before.
  • Safer driving. Although we know better, we may sometimes drive when we really shouldn’t. We might say to ourselves after getting home safely, “What was I thinking?” One consequence of excessive drinking can be poor judgment in the face of potentially disastrous consequences. Choosing alcohol-free champagne eliminates the risk of being pulled over for drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel, causing an accident, or getting lost — all possible consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol
  • Lower in calories. The holiday season is notorious for packing on the pounds. Who can say no to delicious appetizers, fantastic meals, fabulous desserts, and drinks? For many of us concerned about holiday weight gain, the good news is that a four-ounce glass of non-alcoholic champagne comes in at about 20 calories versus traditional champagne at 95.

Key Takeaways

Drinking non-alcoholic champagne is a good option not just during the holiday season but anytime. It checks lots of boxes: it tastes good; it’s got bubbles; it’s cost-effective; and it’s good for us. We won’t get the buzz we do from traditional champagne, but we’ll save calories, make better decisions, and wake up the following day feeling good. Sounds like it’s alcohol-free champagne for the win!

Summary FAQs

1. Are non-alcoholic wines and champagnes the same as sparkling grape juice?

No. Non-alcoholic wine and champagne aim to replicate the taste of traditional wine and champagne, while sparkling grape juice is known for its sweetness and effervescence. They differ in their production processes, flavor profiles, and the occasions for which they are commonly used. 

2. How is the alcohol removed from non-alcoholic champagne?

The alcohol is removed through vacuum distillation at a temperature of 70–95 degrees Fahrenheit. This process removes the alcohol but preserves the wine’s taste.

3. Why are people choosing non-alcoholic wines and champagnes?

Many people are choosing non-alcoholic beverages because they like the taste but want to go easy on the alcohol. By going non-alcoholic, we can enjoy their beverage any time of the day and don’t have to worry about alcohol’s ill effects.

4. Are non-alcoholic champagnes calorie-friendly?

Yes, they are. Non-alcoholic champagnes have 25% of the calories that most traditional wines have. 

5. Are there other health benefits to drinking non-alcoholic beverages?

Yes. Non-alcoholic wines are good for your health because they contain polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that improve blood flow. Like traditional wines, they are considered heart-healthy.

What’s Next for You?

Helping you to learn ways to restructure your relationship with alcohol is what Reframe is all about.  Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions worldwide drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to survive drinking less and thrive while navigating the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also be able to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! We launch fun challenges every month, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you have nothing to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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