Dry January: A cellar in Alsace produces a dealcoholized wine

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

“We don’t stop selling them”, welcomes Yves Baltenweck. The president of the cooperative is at the origin of this innovation. “Not alone, huh, but we had been discussing it with my export salesman for three or 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. It looked more like fruit juice or sparkling wine for children! »

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

16.000 bottles ready in half a day

And then, how is alcohol-free wine made? The operation was not performed in France, but across the Rhine where the practice is common. “You need a very special distillation device, a kind of big still,” continues the specialist. We brought our wine there, vinified the same way as all the others, and it was only afterwards that the process changed. »

« Clearly, the wine is put under pressure and the temperature is raised to 28°C so that the alcohol evaporates”, continues Yves Baltenweck. “There is 13 in 30 % loss and afterwards, we reintroduce 0.5 degrees of alcohol and aromas. It gives structure. For the sparkling, we put more gas. It’s all going very fast! Our 13.000 bottles, 6.30 of each, were ready in the morning. ”

” It’s surprising at the start “

Since , “at least 20 %” of the total have already found a buyer. “Again yesterday, all the visitors of the day bought some”, says the oenologist, quite proud of the result. “I had tasted alcohol-free wine in the years 1990 in Dijon and it was particularly bad! There, we may not have the structuring effect of alcohol, but there are aromas of wine. We feel more acidity, less sugar. ”

“It’s surprising at first, necessarily, but the more you taste it, the more you like it”, continues its president, evoking “a sympathetic balance”. He is already imagining all the possible outlets for his novelty, especially in the midst of “Dry January”… “There is already a clientele and we can also think of pregnant women, of people who can no longer drink alcohol. We’ll see what happens. It’s a first attempt but I hope we will produce 30.000 bottles next year! »