How Is Halal Wine Made? The certification process

Oak barrels in a wine cellar

I have written extensively about the differences in non alcoholic and alcohol free wine labelling in relation to them being Halal. I have even written about how non alcoholic wine and alcohol free wines are made.

Despite the earlier articles, we need to go into a bit more detail in the final step of Halal Certified wines and how they actually get this recognition.

Halal Certified wines are alcohol free wines with 0.0% alcohol by volume. The alcohol is removed from the wine by spinning cone column, reverse osmosis or vacuum distillation. It is then independently tested by an Islamic Council who issue a Halal Certification.

We can recap how an alcohol free wine is made and then look more closely at the actual Halal Certification step so you can understand it better before you buy and drink a Halal Wine.

In the USA you can buy with confidence from Halal Wine Cellar via this link. When you use the code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get a further 10% off.

Can wine be Halal?

A thorny issue i hear you say. To distill (no pun intended) it down to the bare bones this is the crux of the issue…

  • According to Shari’ah law, all beverages which do not cause intoxication are permissible and halal.
  • All beverages which cause intoxication or not permissible and haram
  • Profit Muhammad said “every intoxicant is Khamr(wine) and every intoxicant is haram”
  • He also stated “whatever intoxicates in large quantities, the a small quantity of it is forbidden”
  • Based on that, as 0.0% wines contain no alcohol and can not get you intoxicated (see this post) they are halal.

How do you make 0.0% wine?

My full article on how to make non alcoholic and alcohol free wine can be read here

The basic gist is that alcohol free wine and alcoholic wine are one and the same until the very end.

Alcoholic wine goes off for bottling whereas alcohol free wine still needs the alcohol removed. This is usually done via 1 of 3 processes

  1. Spinning cone column – This is the most efficient method. It is designed to extract and recover volatile compounds (the delicate flavours in the wine) using steam, under vacuum conditions. It is a far gentler process compared to other extraction techniques meaning more of the wine flavour is retained in the final product.
  2. Vacuum distilation – A two stage distillation is used to remove the aromatic compounds. It can be done at 30 degrees due to the vacuum so as not to damage the compounds
  3. Reverse Osmosis – very high pressures, instead of heat are used to force the wine through a fine filter to separate the alcoholic from the aromatic compounds.
Making 0.0% wine and halal certification

The outcome of all 3 methods is meant to be the same. You have removed the alcoholic from your wine down to a specific level. For Halal Certification, this needs to be to 0.0% ABV. With modern winemaking techniques and computer overview of automation, this is extremely accurate.

How do you apply for Halal certification?

Ok, so you have made a beautiful wine, you have removed all the alcohol down to 0.0% ABV to be able to call it “alcohol free”, how then do you get a halal certification?

The first step is the physical application. You need to apply to your local Islamic council. Some from around the world include…

The basic process is the same tho. There is a stepwise process to actually apply which includes

  1. Apply online using the online forms at the Certification website
  2. Submit application
  3. Quotation is given
  4. Certification agreement signed
  5. All forms sent back ready for the next stage

What does Halal certification involve?

Naturally there needs to be some sort of process to certify an alcohol free product as really alcohol free and suitable for a halal certification.

There are a number of further processes to go through…

  • Review and vetting of documents submitted and more information can be requested
  • On side inspection to make sure practices are halal
  • Laboratory testing of products if needed (such as in this case)

How are wines ABV tested?

So the halal certifiers need to find the exact alcohol by volume levels of your wine, what happens next?

You can measure the alcohol content of wine with lots of different methods. Some of the traditional ones you can do with some lab based equipment are…

  1. Ebulliometry Method – The boiling point of wine is lower than the boiling point of water and it directly correlates to the alcohol content. You can use this method to test the ABV.
  2. Chemical oxidation method – Oxidation of wine happens at a predictable rate for a given ABV
  3. Distillation/Hydrometry method – Similar to the ebulliometry method, you can heat the wine in a copper pot to boil off the alcohol for testing.

The most sensitive of these tests are lab based but there are a large number of home kits of varying accuracies on the market. Obviously for a certification of 0.0% you want to be as accurate as possible.

Just how accurate can you be?

What is the margin of error?

The modern lab methods are very accurate. The two new main ones are…

  1. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIR)
  2. Gas chromatography (GC)

These methods allow for the alcohol of wine to de determined to 0.01% allowing for an accurate reading of 0.0% (below 0.05%)

How secure can you be in the outcome?

You can be very secure in the outcome. These scientific methods are very robust and highly accurate. If a winemaker has gone to the trouble of getting all these extra tests for a halal certification then their wine will definitely be 0.0% alcohol by volume

What does a Halal Certification look like?

All certifications are different but should include product information and what can and cant be done with them. If you are buying from a company or online store they should always be able to produce one to show you on request.

Pierre Zero Certification

Below is a Fatwa, a clarification on Islamic law, on non alcoholic drinks and why they are halal.

Fatwa decreed on Non alcoholic drinks

Can Halal Certification be withdrawn?

Yes the halal certification may only be for a set period and may be withdrawn under certain circumstances…

  • Improper use of logo or reference
  • failure to meet or keep halal standards
  • not complying with any contractural obligations.

Where to buy Halal Wines?

In the USA you can buy with confidence from Halal Wine Cellar via this link. When you use the code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get a further 10% off.

If not in the USA you can buy 0.0% alcohol from Amazon.

For UK readers, Light Drinks has this and others, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 5% off

For Australian readers, Craft Zero has a range of products, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 10% off

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