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Martin
Martin, Engineer
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Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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This question will need a chemist wine maker. I wish to drink

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This question will need a chemist wine maker. I wish to drink de-alcoholized wine for health reasons. The commercial ones I have found are not very good. I want to try to de-alcoholise it myself by heating it to cause the alcohol to evaporate. My question is how best to do this to keep the original characteristic of the wine? To what temperature? And should it be done very slowly and a low temperature? And heated for how long? Or quickly using high temperature but short time?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 2 years ago.

FitnessSpecialist :

Hi my name is XXXXX XXXXX while I am not a wine maker(though I do enjoy wines) I have a strong background in chemistry and biochemistry and I will assist you today.

Keeping in mind that distillation(a main way to eliminate alcohol from fluids) is illegal there are a few ways to try to coax the alcohol out. Some of these may undoubtedly change the flavor and characteristics of the wine because the flavor actually comes as part of the fermentation process with all the components of the wine itself.

Ethyl alcohol boils at 78.5 Celsius(173 degrees F) and water boils at 212*F. Ethyl alcohol freezes at roughly -180 degrees Fahrenheit, water freezes at 3 , so the easiest way to eliminate this is the heat the wine to roughly 78.5 degrees, or 175 to be sure and keep it there while stiring - the amount of time is going to dependent on the volume of the wine and the actual alcohol content.

FitnessSpecialist :

Sorry i meant to say water freezes at 32* degrees Fahrenheit, not 3.

FitnessSpecialist :

Keep in mind there is a reason certain spirits including wines and beers are best kept at a certain temperature - unique to the spirit. Exposure to a different environment for any length of time might change or ruin the the characteristics and flavors of the wine.

FitnessSpecialist :

You could also gradually freeze the wine to pull the alcohol off the problem is wine also has sugars and other ingredients(compared to pure vodka for example) so there is a slight difference with the water content and the other ingredients that make the wines so complex. You would have to make sure you can constantly stir the wine as it cools, then cool it more and more stirring it each time so everything becomes an evenly cooled mixture. When things freeze they typically expand and there is a fairly good chance if its not very smooth and gradual the container could break from the liquid expansion.

FitnessSpecialist :

If you are looking to get the health benefits of wines but without the alcohol, you can get the same amounts of flavonoids and other polyphenolic antioxidant benefits along with vitamins and minerals from drinking grape juices, that come in many different varieties. You can also make your own with a juicer and mix in other "superfood" berries like raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, if these suit your palette.

SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
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Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 2 years ago.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your prompt and complete answer but I need a bit more clarification. Do you think that if I heated it carefully enough that much of the original wine characteristics can be retained? And with the freezing method, would I watch until it is kind of a slushie and then pour of the unfrozen bit which would be the alcohol?
Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome, thank you for the accept.

So to clarify just a little, and help you consider a bit more information before you start your attempts.

So simply because of heat addition the wine will oxidize - this will probably cause a drop color but will change the flavor a bit - you could potentially play off of this by trying different wines for heating because if each one changes a little, an unexpected surprise might actually come from an otherwise undesirable wine turning into something more palatable.

For the freezing aspect you also have to take into account the density of Ethanol(the alcohol) and the water as well as the other ingredients. You will more than likely need patience and will be a bit of trial and error since the alcohol will need to rise out of the entire mixture. Alcohol is less dense than water, but the wine is a complex mixture so you will need a little bit of agitation(a slight jiggle possibly of the glass for a little) but also you will need to get the mixture very cold, very gradually so it has time to rise to the top.

Aside from that you need to know what to expect. Since a lot of wines are around 12 percent by volume, the actual amount of alcohol separated by freezing it, which visually will be very little. It may not be exactly 12 percent either, you might only be able to pull 10 percent off. You shouldn't lose anything volume wise by freezing, but if you choose the heating method there is a chance that some water would evaporate off, which might change the flavor a bit as well.

So aside from this, why don't you start with heating the mixture to less than that 175 degrees, perhaps 150-160 degrees and try heating it for longer. It will take more time, but heating it on the stove you would have an uneven heating of it anyway(because of the convection currents in the mixture) so it would be warming in some areas of the heated container as the current moves during cooking. I have no doubts this will be a trial and error for a little bit with each wine until you find the balance of temperature versus time.
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Category: General
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Expert:  Martin replied 2 years ago.
Hello.

What is needed to do what you want is to use a vacuum pump (just enough to get the alcohol evaporating without too much water). It can help to have a bottle wider than high as the evaporation surface will increase. A laboratory stirrer (the type with a rotating magnetic field) would also help to speed the process. That way you can extract the alcohol while the wine stay cool.

The change in concentration will require the addition of water after the operation. Alcohol is a big part in the wine taste and smell, removing it would remove lot of the taste no matter what we try.
Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4072
Experience: i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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