When Jillian Barkley opened Soft Spirits, a non-alcoholic bottle shop in Los Angeles, in October 2021, the selection of non-alcoholic (NA) wines fit on one very small shelf. A year later, there’s a whole wall of the store dedicated to the beverages.
That’s due, in part, to demand. Non-alcoholic wine is “our fastest growing category and the option customers seem most excited about,” she says. In fact, NielsenIQ found a 23.2% increase in demand for NA wines in 2022 as compared to 2021.
If you’re looking to try some NA bottles or just want to have sans-alcohol options on hand for your next gathering, it’s important to know how to pair these booze-free wines with food. While some wine and food pairing rules still apply, there are distinct differences.
But, before we get to the pairings, here’s a brief look at NA wine basics.
What Is Non-Alcoholic Wine?
At Sipple, an NA bottle shop in Houston, founder Danny Frounfelkner stocks two different styles of NA wine. The first is alcohol-free wine, in which fermentation was stopped during the winemaking process. These offerings tend to be more fruit forward, according to Frounfelkner. Then there’s dealcoholized wines, which began as fermented wine but have had the alcohol removed, often through vapor distillation.
Of the two, customers “gravitate more towards dealcoholized wines, as they’re more wine adjacent,” he says. Frounfelkner’s favorites include dealcoholized wines by Prima Pavé, Buzzkill, Surely, Noughty, Giesen, Sovi and Jøyus.