SANS MODERATION The Ribeauvillé cellar produces a still wine and a sparkling wine, both with 0.5% alcohol

Dry January: A cellar in Alsace produces a de-alcoholized wine

The two bottles of “Ribo”, a still wine and a sparkling wine. — Cave de Ribeauvillé

  • Cave de Ribeauvillé, in the Haut-Rhin, launched just before the New Year two alcohol-free wines: a still wine and a sparkling wine .
  • This is a first in Alsace, where other wine regions have already done so.
  • “We can't stop selling them,” says Yves Baltenweck, president of the Alsatian cooperative.

Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and now… alcohol-free wine! For the first time in Alsace, a producer has just launched not one but two beverages below 0.5 degrees. of alcohol. The cellar of Ribeauvillé; released them in the last week of December. Two RibO, name chosen in reference to the city of Haut-Rhin and at low alcoholic content, are accessible to the sale: a still and a sparkling wine.

“We can’t stop selling it,” said Yves Baltenweck. The president of the cooperative is at the origin of this innovation. “Not alone huh, but we had been discussing this with my export salesman for three, four years. He told me about a big demand in the Nordic countries and in Germany in particular. Except that what existed did not please us. Ça looked more like fruit juices or sparkling wines for children !”

The producers groped, tasted, tested a lot. in order to achieve the result. “We wanted to start with a dry wine,” explains Evelyne Bléger-Cognac, the winery”s wine expert. This is why the choice of grape varieties finally fell on sylvaner and muscat for still wine, against only muscat for sparkling wine. All from the 2020 vintage.

13,000 bottles ready in half a day

And then, how do you make de-alcoholized wine? The operation has not been done. made in France, but across the Rhine where the practice is common. “You need a very special distillation apparatus, a kind of big still,” continues the specialist. We brought our wine, vinified in the same way as all the others, and it is only afterwards that the process has changed.”

“In other words, the wine is put under pressure and the temperature is raised to 100%. 28°C for the alcohol to evaporate,” continues Yves Baltenweck. “There are 16 to 17% loss and then we reintroduce 0.5 degrees of alcohol and aromas. Ça restores a structure. For the sparkling, we put more gas. Everything is going very fast! Our 13,000 bottles, 6,500 of each, were ready in the morning.”

“”This” is surprising at first”

Since then, “at least 20%” of the total have already found taker. “Even yesterday, all the visitors of the day bought it,” said the wine specialist, quite proud of the result. “I had tasted it” de-alcoholized wine in the 1990s to Dijon and it was particularly bad! Here, you may not have the structuring effect of alcohol but there are aromas of wine. You feel more acidity, less sugar.””

“It’s surprising at first, of course, but the more you taste it, the more you loves him,” his president continues, referring to “a sympathetic balance”. He already imagines every possible outlet for its novelty, especially in the « Dry January »… “There are already a clientele and we can also think of pregnant women, people who can no longer drink alcohol. We'll see what ç looks like. It’s a trial run but I hope we will produce 30,000 bottles next year!”