Opinion: Non-alcoholic wine and alcoholics – are they allowed to drink it at all?

A decision that needs to be weighed well

Many dry alcoholics are faced with the question of whether they are allowed to drink non-alcoholic wine.

This is a question that many addiction doctors initially answer with a clear “no” for a variety of reasons. Arguments against it are usually cited as follows:

  • Most non-alcoholic wines may contain a residual amount of alcohol (eg, up to 0.5% is permitted under German food law). Already by this small remainder alcohol dry alcoholics would be triggered.
  • Since the taste is too similar to normal alcohol-containing wine or is drunk at least in similar situations, desire for more is made or one falls again into old behavior patterns and would then reach for the normal wine.
    Residual alcohol

On the first point, it should be noted on the one hand that there are now also some non-alcoholic wines that really do not contain any alcohol at all. However, they are usually not as prominently labeled as 0.0% beers, where it is usually already prominent in the brand name. In the case of wines, you should definitely take a look at the fine print. However, it should be noted in this context that many fruit juices, for example, also contain alcohol by nature, so that this problem must also be taken into account with these and also some other foods.

If one is personally already triggered by smallest quantities of alcohol and animated to drink, one should consistently leave the fingers from alcohol-free wine – but just not only from that, but also from alcohol-free beers and many fruit juices. This is especially true if you are taking Antabus for alcoholism.

Triggered by taste?

But what about triggering by taste or situation?

Most non-alcoholic wines taste – at least for the time being – quite different from their alcoholic counterparts, which is not surprising given the alcohol content of usually between 10% and now around 14% in many wines. Most are more in the direction of heavier and somewhat less sweet grape juices, especially red wines. White wines already approach more their model, since here the acid is taste-determining. Nevertheless, it is actually a beverage category all its own.

Under the aspect of being triggered by taste, I therefore consider some non-alcoholic wines to be even less problematic than non-alcoholic beers, which often already come very close to their models.

That you should otherwise of course avoid situations that have tempted you to drink in the past is clear, as long as you have the concern,

Question yourself self-critically

I myself am a dry alcoholic and like to drink a non-alcoholic wine with a meal as a pure pleasure. Personally, it has never triggered me and it helps me to stay dry because I don’t have to give up a cherished taste.

However, that is my own personal attitude and way of dealing with it. If you feel that, for example, the residual alcohol or the taste of even non-alcoholic wine triggers you to drink, you should definitely avoid it.


Basically, the question of whether you are allowed to drink non-alcoholic wine as a dry alcoholic is therefore a very personal decision that you should weigh up carefully and, in case of doubt, discuss with your therapist or doctor.





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