Is Wine Halal? Is it a trick question?

Not that long ago, when you said “wine”, you meant alcoholic wine, as there was no other types. Now wine comes in all alcoholic concentrations from halal certified 0.0% ABV to fully bodied reds up towards 15%.

Are any of these wines halal, are the new ones, what actually makes a wine halal or haram? Hopefully this article should help you understand the topic a bit more.

Is wine halal?

Alcoholic wines are haram, that is a straightforward issue, but as you reduce to ABV to 0.5% and further down to 0.0% then the conversation changes. Non alcoholic wines can be considered halal and 0.0% wines should be halal. The range of 0.0% halal certified wines are definitely halal.

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.

Why is alcoholic wine not halal?

The Prophet Muhammad says in the Quran “Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is forbidden. He who drinks wine in this world and dies while he is addicted to it, not having repented, will not be given a drink in the Hereafter.”

This can be a very complex topic with many variations across the Islamic world. In general, any alcoholic drink or drink that can get a person intoxicated is banned or Haram but there is variation in thinking on this.

What is Khamr

One of the arguments in Islamic law is only grape juice and wine Haram or all alcohols. 

Khamr is the Arabic word for wine and intoxication. A minority would argue that only wine is Haram due to this word. Indeed some majority Muslim countries produce spirits like aarack. Egypt produces wine.

Even a mouthful

A conservative view would be any amount of an intoxicating liquid is banned, even a mouthful. The phrase “even a drop” is used. That would mean even drinking only a mouthful of alcoholic wine is haram, even tho the mouthful can not get you drunk.

Is non alcoholic wine halal?

Non alcoholic wine can have up to 0.5% alcohol by volume. There is an argument that any amount of alcohol makes a wine haram but 0.5% is the same amount of alcohol as in a glass of orange juice or even some breads.

You can check out the surprising alcohol in commons foods here.

I think the more pertinent argument is if non alcoholic wine can get you drunk. If it can’t then the “even one drop” argument doesn’t stand. It only applies if the drink can get you drunk if you drink enough.

I have calculated (here), that it would take x96 5fl oz glasses of non alcoholic wine in around an hour to get you drunk. This equates to 20 bottles of non alcoholic wine. No one is going to drink this and i don’t really think you can drink a bottle of wine every 3 minutes for an hour.

Therefore, i think non alcoholic wine can be considered halal.

Is alcohol free wine halal?

If non alcoholic wine should be halal, then i think alcohol free wine is a shoe as halal.

An alcohol free wine can not have more than 0.05% ABV. At this level the alcohol has no biological effect on the body as it is metabolised before it can raise your blood alcohol level.

To get drunk on non alcoholic wine, you would need to drink 200 bottles in about an hour, which isn’t possible.

Is halal certified wine halal?

Much like the title, this isn’t a trick question! You would have to think the answer is “yes”.

There is now fully halal certified wine. This is an extra step that alcohol free, 0.0% wines can take to ensure they really are 0.0% ABV for the Muslim market.

To understand halal certification it helps to know how alcohol free wine is made to start with.

My 9 favourite halal certified wines can be read here

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.

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)

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