Dealcoholization of wine provokes sharp debate

An advocate of removing alcohol from wines using reverse osmosis, Vincent Pugibet of Domaine La Colombette (IGP Hérault), is profiled by La revue du vin de France (RVF). The review states that the practice was authorized in August 2009 up to a limit of 2% alcohol, and they say that “millions of bottles” are produced in France by this method. RVF indicates that promoters of dealcoholization contend it renders a wine easier to drink and reveals desirable constituents overwhelmed by excessive alcohol. Further, proponents maintain that the grower can obtain improved phenolic maturity without fearing high alcohol content. The detractors, RVF says, denounce wines undergoing this treatment as being “without flavor, indeed diluted.” Vincent Pugibet challenges anyone to detect that a wine has been carefully and lightly dealcoholized. Only when the process is pushed to the extreme, he claims, could a taster find a diluted result.

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