Is Non-Alcoholic Wine Safe During Pregnancy?
Non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits are having a moment.
There are more people than ever enjoying their beverages without the buzz. And within this group, you’ll find consumers that are choosing to abstain or reduce their alcohol intake for a wide range of different personal reasons. But there is one group that’s been interested in non-alcoholic drinks for decades: pregnant women.
From major publications to mommy blogs, stories about what to drink when you’re pregnant are everywhere. Which is great news for moms-to-be, as 9+ months without their favorite beverages may seem a bit daunting. But many expectant mothers have the same question when it comes to picking non-alcoholic beers, wines, and spirits: Are they safe?
That’s the question we’re here to answer today. More specifically, we’re going to answer one of the most common questions we get here at YOURS…
Is non-alcoholic wine safe during pregnancy?
Before we dive in, a quick disclaimer: We are not doctors, nor would we ever pretend to be one. You should always consult your physician with any questions or concerns you have related to what you consume while pregnant. Our goal with this piece is just to provide some additional context for you to use in those discussions.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about drinking non-alcoholic wine while pregnant.
How is Non-Alcoholic Wine Made?
Before deciding if you should be drinking non-alcoholic wines during your pregnancy, it’s important to understand how they’re made.
Nearly every non-alcoholic wine on the market starts one of two ways: 1. A traditional wine that’s had its alcohol removed, or 2. A “wine-like” beverage that has been assembled from the ground up (like Gruvi’s excellent Dry-Secco and Rosé).
For our discussion, we’ll be focused on the former, as most “wine-like” beverages never actually go through a fermentation process. As such, they never contain any alcohol, making them the equivalent of drinking a juice or soda during pregnancy.
With that in mind, let’s talk about how alcohol actually gets removed from wine.
Once a traditional bottle of wine has been produced, winemakers have one of three options to remove the alcohol. The first is distillation, where the wine is heated until the alcohol is distilled off the remainder of the liquid. Traditionally, this heat would also kill all of the flavor and nuance of the wine, however recent technological advancements allow winemakers to use a special vacuum process that reduces the boiling point of the wine to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning the alcohol can be removed without losing too much of the flavor.
The second process is reverse osmosis filtration. In this method, traditional wine is pressed through a special membrane at high pressures. The filtration separates the alcohol and the water from the remainder of the wine, leaving winemakers with a “wine concentrate”. Afterwards, winemakers add water back to the concentrate, recreating their original wine, but without the alcohol.
The third method for crafting non-alcoholic wine involves a state-of-the-art machine that uses a series of spinning cones. As the wine moves through the cones, the alcohol is separated from the remainder of the mixture, leaving behind the rest of the original wine. And because no heat is involved, the loss of aroma and flavor via this process is minimal.
Now as you can see, most non-alcoholic wines on the market did at one point in time contain alcohol, which is important to know when considering if non-alcoholic wine is safe during pregnancy. But “non-alcoholic” means all the alcohol is gone, right?
The Difference Between Non-Alcoholic Wine and Alcohol-Free Wine
When researching alcohol free wine and pregnancy, it’s important that you understand the industry terminology so that you may make a more informed decision. “Alcohol-Free,” “Non-Alcoholic,” “Dealcoholized,” “Alcohol-Removed” – these are all common terms you will find on bottles of non-alcoholic wine. But are they all the same?
Take the terms “non-alcoholic” and “alcohol-free”. While many consumers use the two interchangeably, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration treats them very differently.
“Alcohol-free” is the more straightforward of the two. It means just that…there is no detectable alcohol in the beverage (0.0% alcohol by volume). “Non-Alcoholic” on the other hand is a more convoluted term. Technically, beverages with this designation can have up to 0.5% alcohol by volume and still be labeled “non-alcoholic”.
Making things even more confusing is the fact that “Dealcoholized” and “Alcohol-Removed” have less to do with the current alcohol content of the wine, and are there to let you know that, yes, at one-point portions of this product did contain detectable alcohol. Meaning a “Dealcoholized” wine could be anywhere from 0.0% alcohol by volume to 0.5% alcohol by volume.
So, how do you keep all these terms straight? Head to the back label. If there is any detectable alcohol by volume (even if it’s less than 0.5%), winemakers are still required to list it on the label.
Now that you know that your “non-alcoholic” wine could have trace amounts of alcohol, let’s explore just how much is 0.5% alcohol by volume really is…
Understanding Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
Since non-alcoholic wines can contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume, many expectant mothers experience a bit of hesitation and confusion when trying to decide whether or not to drink non-alcoholic wines while pregnant.
First things first, it’s important to note that the Centers for Disease Control makes it clear that there is no known safe amount of alcohol for pregnant women. And again, this is very much a conversation to have with your doctor, who will have a much better understanding of you and your baby’s health.
That said, you may be surprised at just how many things contain trace amounts of alcohol. In fact, according to a recent report studying children’s unintentional exposure to alcohol, foods such as bananas, pears, apple juice, and orange juice all contain upwards of 0.5% alcohol by volume. And a burger bun? That comes in at an eye-popping 1.28% alcohol by volume – 156% more alcohol by volume than a typical non-alcoholic wine.
Alcohol is the natural by-product of fermentation, which occurs way more often in our foods and beverages than we may realize. So while yes, a non-alcoholic wine does carry a trace amount of alcohol, it’s at a level even to (or even less than) what a normal individual may already be consuming on a daily basis.
Best Non-Alcoholic Wines to Drink While Pregnant
Now that you have a better understanding of how non-alcoholic wine is made, the difference between non-alcoholic and alcohol-free wines, and just how many foods and beverages contain alcohol, you should be able to make a much more informed decision with your doctor on whether or not you can consume non-alcoholic wine while pregnant.
If you do decide to drink non-alcoholic wines while you’re expecting, we’ve got plenty of recommendations. Check out some of our lists below to find the best non-alcoholic wines to drink while pregnant. These lists contain both “non-alcoholic” and “alcohol-free” wines, meaning there are options for you even if you decide you only want to consumer 0.0% alcohol by volume options.
Final Thoughts on Non-Alcoholic Wine and Pregnancy
We hope this gives you a much better understanding on how safe non-alcoholic wine is to drink during pregnancy. Again, choosing to drink non-alcoholic beverages during pregnancy is a very personal decision, and one that should be made with your own doctor’s recommendations in mind. But know that there is a variety of wonderful non-alcoholic and alcohol-free wines out there that can be great options to mark moments and special occasions during your pregnancy.
Cheers to you and your little one!