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The best non-alcoholic wines for 2024 that don't taste like grape juice

If you don't drink or you're simply sober curious, they can be a surprisingly good substitute for the real thing.

Non-alcoholic wines
We tested non-alcoholic wines from a wide range of brands: Thomson & Scott, Prima Pavé, Giesen, Sovi, Grüvi, Jøyus, Surely, Leitz and Studio Null.

Dry January may be in the rearview mirror, but competition for the best non-alcoholic wine is still heating up. As we head into the summer months and drinking culture makes its way to patios, music festivals, boats, beach chairs and pretty much every other venue for warm-weather fun, it's not a bad idea to take stock of your own drinking and see if an alternative to alcohol might make sense, at least some of the time. And you'd be in good company: These days, it's not just designated drivers, non-drinkers or pregnant people seeking out non-alcoholic alternatives. There's never been a better time than 2024 to be sober-curious. Non-alcoholic wines are one of those products you might have tried and written off years ago, but now deserve a second chance (I’m looking at you, digital picture frames). They've come a long way in just a few short years, and experts believe this is just the beginning.

Kristen Bear, host of the “Creative Sobriety” podcast, thinks sobriety is on the rise, but it's more of a health-conscious, "elevated lifestyle" trend. "When I first got sober, there were a couple of non-alcoholic wines and they were awful," Bear said. "I think because the demand has just skyrocketed, we have these companies making really, really quality beverages with craftsmanship in mind, and it's not so much just like, 'here's a grape juice, enjoy.'"

Rapidly changing technology and an increased interest in sobriety has brought non-alcoholic wines into the zeitgeist. The category has come a long way in a short time — and, experts admit, still has a way to go. "Non-alcoholic beer has been around for a really long time, and then came the non-alcoholic spirits. Wine is sort of the last frontier, and I think part of that is because it's really hard. It's a challenge to fake the flavor profile that you'd have in wine," said Elizabeth-Rose Mandalou, sommelier and beverage director at Allora restaurant in Sacramento, Calif.

So what’s the deal with non-alcoholic wine? Is it any good? (Spoiler alert: Yes!) I spoke with several industry experts, including the owner of a non-alcoholic bottle shop in Nashville and the founders of Sacramento’s first non-alcoholic bar, and assembled a panel of taste testers to rate more than 20 bottles — white, red, rosé and sparkling — on appearance, aroma, taste, finish and similarity to alcoholic wine. Read on to see which ones we liked best and how to find a bottle that appeals to your preferences.

Best non-alcoholic wine overall

Type: Sparkling white | Grape varietal(s): Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc & Gewürztraminer | Country of origin: Italy | Wine sweetness: Dry | Calories: 18/100 ml | Alcohol content: 0.0% | Sugar content: 3.1g/100 ml | Similarity to real wine: 3.8/5

The experts I consulted all agreed that sparkling wine lends itself to de-alcoholization better than still wine, because the effervescence provides a bit of a bite that usually comes from the alcohol. Sure enough, our top-rated wine was this sparkling blanc de blanc from Prima Pavé. (In fact, our top five picks for taste and similarity to "real" wine were all sparkling wines!) Taste testers described this zero-proof champagne as "very refreshing," "sparkly, light" and "smooth." Its fruity flavor profile and dry finish sealed the deal for the top spot — if you only drink one non-alcoholic wine, make it this one.

Pros
  • The closest tasting to "real" wine we tried
  • Lovely to look at
Cons
  • A bit pricey
$25 at Prima Pavé

Other top non-alcoholic wines we recommend for 2024

Type: Still red | Grape varietal(s): Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah | Country of origin: United States | Wine sweetness: Dry | Calories: 20/100 ml | Alcohol content: 0.5% | Sugar content: 3.4 g/100 ml | Similarity to real wine: 1.5/5

Red wines don’t tend to lend themselves to the de-alcoholization process as well as whites and rosés, so you may not want to start here if you’re new to non-alcoholic wine. But if red's your jam, this blend beat out our other bottles thanks to its uniquely smoky, spicy flavor. With a medium body and earthy, tannin-y tasting notes, Surely's red blend isn’t for everyone. Case in point: Two testers reported a cigar taste, but one gave it four stars and the other only one. As with alcoholic wine, non-alcoholic wine is a highly subjective experience. Nevertheless, this interesting blend surely beat out the competition.

Pros
  • Widely available in stores, online
  • Interesting flavor profile
Cons
  • Non-alcoholic red wine is not for everyone
$27 at Amazon

Type: Still white | Grape varietal(s): Pinot Grigio | Country of origin: New Zealand | Wine sweetness: Medium dry | Calories: 18/100 ml | Alcohol content: <0.5% | Sugar content: 3g/100 ml | Similarity to real wine: 2.6/5

Two experts I spoke to recommended one of Giesen’s other non-alcoholic wines (the Sauvignon Blanc, which you can read more about below), but it was the brand’s Pinot Grigio that reigned supreme in our tasting. Tasters called it "crisp," "refreshing" and "not too sweet or too acidic." Thanks to a touch of sweetness and tasting notes of white flowers, lychee and red apple, a few of the testers christened it the ideal poolside beverage for the sober crowd.

This bottle scored lower than most of our sparkling options on its similarity to alcoholic wine, but that speaks more to the category than the brand — experts recommend starting off with sparkling because still non-alcoholic wines are harder to get right. With still wines, "If you're looking for something that tastes exactly like traditional wine, you're going to be disappointed," said Amanda and Kathryn Altman-Brincat, founders of Sacramento, Calif., non-alcoholic bar the Teetotalist.

Pros
  • Love a twist-off lid
  • Looks and smells just like the real thing
Cons
  • Non-alcoholic still wines are an acquired taste
$27 at Amazon

Type: Sparkling white | Grape varietal(s): Chardonnay | Country of origin: Spain | Wine sweetness: Medium dry | Calories: 14/100 ml | Alcohol content: 0.0% | Sugar content: 2.9g/100 ml | Similarity to real wine: 3.8/5

There’s nothing naughty about Thomson & Scott’s Noughty line of non-alcoholic wines. Since our overall best pick was also sparkling, this bottle is technically the sparkling runner-up. Though it scored slightly lower in our taste test than the Prima Pavé, it rivaled our top pick for similarity to alcoholic wine. This sparkler has a bit more bite than the others we sampled, with a spiciness and acidity that made the lack of alcohol almost imperceptible. With a crisp, somewhat tart finish, this one would make a great mixer for a champagne mocktail (mimosas, anyone?) or on its own as a celebratory baby shower toast or for a hangover-free New Year’s Eve countdown. As one tester put it, "This is a wonderful drink."

Pros
  • Tastes great
  • Organic and vegan
Cons
  • A bit pricey
$26 at Amazon

Type: Sparkling rosé | Grape varietal(s): Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc & Gewürztraminer | Country of origin: Italy | Wine sweetness: Medium dry | Calories: 19/100 ml | Alcohol content: 0.0% | Sugar content: 3.2g/100 ml | Similarity to real wine: 3.8/5

Unsurprisingly, our favorite non-alcoholic rosé wine was also sparkling. Prima Pavé must be doing something right, because the brand's second entry on this list beat out four other bottles of rosé, including offerings from Giesen and Thomson & Scott. Testers appreciated its light fizz and dryness, making it another good candidate for a zero-proof celebration or a cocktail mixer — or a patio pounder without the pounding headache.

Pros
  • Just as aesthetically pleasing as its sparkling chardonnay counterpart
Cons
  • May be harder to find than other brands
  • Pricey
$25 at Prima Pavé

Other non-alcoholic wines we tested

Sparklings

Sovi Sparkling White: A great sparkling option that just didn't score as highly as the others on our list, plus it's the most expensive of the bunch.

Giesen Sparkling Brut: Half our testers said they'd buy this one again. The other half? "Too sweet," "too sour," "does nothing for me."

Surely Sparkling Brut: Surely lost us at the aroma on this bottle, and the taste wasn’t much of an improvement. One tester compared its flavor to an armpit. Another was more diplomatic: "[The] aroma is off-putting."

Whites

Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Blanc de Blancs: This bottle of white was a little too sweet for us, and not as complex as you'd want an adult beverage stand-in to be. One tester compared it to grape juice. Still, it was our runner-up in the category (though much pricier than our winner).

Studio Null Grüner Weiss: We appreciated that this bottle wasn't too sweet, but overall found it a bit bland — not to mention almost double the cost of some other bottles in the category.

Surely Blanc: Testers didn't love the aftertaste of this white blend, and the overall experience was a little underwhelming. It was also one of the least wine-like of the bunch.

Thomson & Scott Noughty Blanc: Noughty wins points for its similarity to real wine but loses points for blandness.

Giesen Riesling: Giesen can't win them all, and our testing panel agreed that its Riesling was underwhelming.

Giesen Sauvignon Blanc: After two experts recommended the Giesen Sauvignon Blanc, I was surprised that the tasting panel united against it, for both flavor and dissimilarity to its alcoholic brethren.

Rosés

Prima Pavé Rosé Dolce: If you prefer your wine sweet — but not as sweet as, say, literal grape juice — this is the bottle for you. Our testing panel found this sparkling rosé a bit too cloying to take the top spot, but it's still a solid choice. Three testers compared it to soda, but all agreed that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Noughty Rosé: This bottle of rosé was just fine — crisp, refreshing, mild, with just a bit of a bite. One tester summed it up thusly: "Pretty good."

Giesen Rosé: This bottle had an earthier, almost smoky vibe with a bit more complexity than the others. Still, its overall taste didn’t win us over.

Jøyus Rosé: The group agreed that this bottle went down easy — a little too easy. More than one person compared it to juice. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but not the best substitute for the real thing, either.

Reds

Grüvi Dry Red Blend: Our first canned wine of the bunch! Grüvi wins points for portability and dryness, but ultimately the cranberry flavor was a tad overpowering.

Grüvi Sangria: This non-alcoholic sangria tastes very much like alcoholic sangria, which makes this canned wine another excellent patio pounder for the sober crowd. Splash it over some fruit and you may not even know the difference.

Thomson & Scott Noughty Rouge: Thomson & Scott promises notes of "ripe red fruit, crushed black pepper, dried rose petal and candied cherries integrated with French oak tannins." But the inoffensive red was pretty mild, and not as flavorful as we'd have liked.

Giesen Premium Red: This red also lost points for blandness and lack of flavor. It's hard to get a non-alcoholic red right because the alcohol is what gives it much of its body, and this one tasted particularly light.

Sovi Red Blend: Almost everyone described this red blend as "watery," an attribute that remains a hurdle for most non-alcoholic reds.

Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Pinot Noir: Pour one out for this bland, watery red: "Tastes like wine, but bad wine," one taster said. "This wine makes me wish I was drinking grape juice," said another.

How we tested

I asked several experts for their picks for the best non-alcoholic wines, and they recommended a range of brands and grape varietals to try. After procuring a collection of sparkling, white, rosé and red wines (24 bottles total), I assembled a group of eight taste-testers with varying degrees of familiarity with non-alcoholic beverages and sobriety (a nursing mother, a pregnant woman, some medical fellows with frequent on-call sobriety requirements, etc.) and tested the wines in four rounds, from white to rosé to red, finishing with sparkling. Tasters rated each wine based on overall taste and similarity to alcoholic wines, judging based on appearance, aroma, taste and finish. We paired the wines with cheese, charcuterie, olives and dark chocolate for added nuance.

Factors to consider when choosing a non-alcoholic wine

Grape varietal

You probably have some favorite (and not-so-favorite) grapes already when it comes to alcoholic wines, and you may find yourself gravitating toward those same varietals with an non-alcoholic wine — or, you may not! Experts agree that whites generally fare better than reds after de-alcoholization. "The whiter the wine, the easier it is," the Altman-Brincats told me. "Red wine still has a ways to go. You just notice the lack of that bite more than you do in some of the white wines."

According to Stephanie Styll, owner of Nashville non-alcoholic bottle shop Killjoy, sauvignon blanc is always a good place to start. Mandalou is also partial to Riesling: "Riesling is the best grape [for non-alcoholic wines] because it is so aromatic and interesting, versus chardonnay, which is a really rather neutral grape," she says. "In the winemaking process, we do all of these things to bring the character out of [chardonnay]. Riesling in and of itself doesn't need much manipulation to show its aromatic intensity." For red drinkers, Bear recommends a pinot noir.

Sparkling vs. still

You're unlikely to find someone who prefers a non-alcoholic still wine to sparkling. Every expert I spoke to recommended starting with bubbles, and my own taste buds concur. The reason for that is textural — removing alcohol removes some of the aromatics and texture from wine, but effervescence does a lot to offset that loss. That's not to say still expressions should be written off; they're just not the best place to start.

Price

In general, non-alcoholic wine is a real you-get-what-you-pay-for situation. "What happens is most people go to the grocery store, and they get the $10 bottle of wine, and they try it, and it's terrible," Styll said. "And so there's a common misperception that non-alcoholic wine is just not good." Because non-alcoholic wine is so difficult to get right, it's easier — even for someone with an unsophisticated palate — to recognize a "bad" non-alcoholic wine than one with alcohol. "There is a lot of art and labor that goes into [producing a good non-alcoholic wine]," the Altman-Brincats said. "It costs more and takes more time to make."

In short, "If you're in America and it costs less than $10, there's a good chance it's not a great bottle of [non-alcoholic] wine," Styll said.

Alcohol content

Wait, non-alcoholic wines still have alcohol in them? They can — sort of. Check the label and you should see either 0.0% alcohol or 0.5% alcohol. Practically speaking, there's no real difference. You're not going to get drunk from 0.5%. If you’re abstaining for health reasons, pregnancy or because you just don't want to get a buzz tonight, the alcohol content of a non-alcoholic wine probably shouldn’t weigh too heavily on your decision-making. But scroll down to the FAQs for more information on the differences.

Sugar content

Health-wise, non-alcoholic wines are great because, well, there's no alcohol. You may think that means these wines will be higher in sugar to make up for the lack of alcohol, but that's actually a common misconception. In fact, an entire bottle of non-alcoholic wine might contain the same calories as a single glass of alcoholic wine. Most of the wines we tasted contained only about 3 grams of sugar per 100-milliliter serving. "The number one thing I have people say to me is 'I want something that's not sweet and doesn't taste like grape juice,'" Styll said. "I would say under 6 grams of sugar is going to taste fairly dry. And if it has 20 grams of sugar, it's going to taste very sweet."

Personal preference

Obviously, you like what you like, and the converse is also true. You may very well love one of the wines that didn’t make our list, and you may be disappointed by one of our faves. This is true for any product category, but especially for non-alcoholic wines, which — for better or worse — remain a bit of an acquired taste. "Go into this knowing that drinking de-alcoholized wine is a different experience, and it's meant to be," Bear said. "Be open-minded, but also make sure that you don't just try one and decide, 'Oh, I don't like this.' There are just dozens and dozens of really quality options now." Mandalou agreed: "Set your expectations so you're not disappointed. ... It's sort of like when people try gluten-free bread for the first time," she said. "Just keep trying until you find something you like and don't discredit the whole category."

FAQs

Is non-alcoholic wine just grape juice?

Not at all! "It’s traditional wine made with traditional winemaking methods," Bear said. "And then the alcohol is removed from the wine, so you're left with a product that is very much wine and has the same taste, texture and feel of wine, but no alcohol."

Are wine alternatives the same as non-alcoholic wines?

Think of it as a Venn diagram: All non-alcoholic wines make good wine alternatives (unless they taste bad!) but not all wine alternatives are considered non-alcoholic wines. Confused? A de-alcoholized wine is, as its name suggests, a wine that has had its alcohol removed. But there are other wine alternatives that don’t contain wine — or even grapes — at all. Some use tea, mushrooms, fruit and other ingredients (even adaptogens) to approximate the tannins and other natural flavors of wine. We stuck to true de-alcoholized wines for this article, but there are tons of interesting wine alternatives on the market from brands like Non and Proxies that taste delicious; they’re just not actually wine. Grüvi, whose de-alcoholized dry red and sangria we tried, also offers a few wine alternatives.

What is the difference between 'non-alcoholic' and 'de-alcoholized'?

Throw in "zero-proof," "alcohol-free" and "alcohol removed" and you've got less of a taxonomy and more of a ... mess. The industry is still standardizing its terminology, but in general, you can't call a wine zero-proof or alcohol-free if it has any trace amount of alcohol after the de-alcoholization process. Still, even a wine with 0.5% alcohol is safe for those who cannot have alcohol for health reasons. Two of the experts I consulted compared this trace amount to that of an overripe banana. (Upon further research, this appears to have come from a 2016 study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology that's been given the internet rumor-mill treatment.) Bottom line: A grown adult cannot get a buzz from a glass of 0.5% alcohol wine, but if you're abstaining for religious or medical reasons or because you're in addiction recovery, check the label.

Why is non-alcoholic wine so expensive?

The short answer: Because it's wine. Wine is expensive to produce at high quality, and quality matters even more when you remove the thing that gives wine so much of its body and flavor profile. On top of that, removing alcohol is an added step, so the process is actually more labor-intensive than producing alcoholic wine. There are a few different de-alcoholization methods that winemakers will use — reverse osmosis, vacuum distillation, other proprietary processes — and some tack on yet another step to add to the flavor profile after that. So the lack of alcohol in a bottle of non-alcoholic wine doesn’t make it any cheaper. If anything, it makes it more expensive.

Is non-alcoholic wine healthy?

Non-alcoholic wines are certainly healthier than their alcoholic cousins, but they're not necessarily providing health benefits. The lower calorie count is a plus, and the lack of alcohol is obviously better for your body. The jury's still out on the real benefits of resveratrol in a glass of wine, but if a glass a day really does keep the doctor away, non-alcoholic wines count too.

"You should commend yourself for making healthier choices," Mandalou said. "As much as I love wine, it is poison — alcohol is poison, it's not a health food, regardless of research that will pop up every now and again. ... The great thing about non-alcoholic wine is that you can sort of throw caution to the wind and just enjoy it."

Meet our experts

  • Kristen Bear, host of the "Creative Sobriety" podcast

  • Amanda and Kathryn Altman-Brincat, founders of the Teetotalist, Sacramento, Calif.

  • Elizabeth-Rose Mandalou, sommelier, Piedmont food & wine specialist, Italian wine scholar, beverage director/partner at Allora restaurant

  • Stephanie Styll, owner of Killjoy, a non-alcoholic bottle shop in Nashville