You are here:



QUESTION: I have a recipe that calls for Chinese Shaoxing wine but suspect it might be harder to find. It can be substituted with dry sherry but I'd like a non-alcoholic version to avoid flames when cooking. Does non-alcoholic dry sherry exist?

ANSWER: Hi James

Shaoxing wine is hard to find in the US, but there are some alternatives.  The most obvious would be any kind of sake~ which is a similar rice wine, vut feom Japan.

You could also use Sherry, but it will have a steonger flavor.  (You don't need yo worry about fire danger~ these wines are less than 20% alcohol, and they would need to be more than double that level to catch fire.)

Another choice would be a dry white wine, preferably one that's ob sale because it's too old, which will make it more like sherry.

Or you could even use a lighter beer!

Hope that helps

Paul Wagner

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: How will I know when the alcohol is completely gone? I don't drink and hate even the smell of alcohol. I am trying to make a sauce for orange chicken.

ANSWER: Hi James

Because alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, most of it "cooks out" after a few minutes.  But if you use a light beer, the alcohol level is very low (3~4% compared to 15~20% for Sherry or Sake) so you won't notice it at all.

Good luck!

Paul Wagner

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Just to confirm any such thing as non-alcoholic sherry? And is the drink popular in case I have a  lot left over?

Hi James

I don't have great news for you there. Sherry isn't very popular, and although I like it a lot, most people are not fans.

If that's a concern, go for a bottle of beer, because it's both cheaper and comes in a smaller bottle.

Paul Wagner  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Paul Wagner


Wines of the world, wine a food matching, wine and food service questions. I currently teach Wine courses at Napa Valley College, am an international wine judge, written many articles for publication, and have been a guest speaker at way too many wine conferences to remember. 25 years in the business. With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, I authored the definitive book on wine marketing: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book for professionals! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at, where I answer questions about wine and food on the air.


30 years in the business.

Society of Wine Educators, Academy of Wine Communications, American Wine Society

Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, Fine Wine Journal, les Amis du Vin Journal, Society of Wine Educators Journal, and more.

I have taught at Napa Valley College for the last twenty years.

Awards and Honors
Spanish National Wine Fair: A lifetime dedicated to wine award. Espaderino della Castelania di Soave in Italy.

Past/Present Clients
Wineries include Caymus, Wente, Parducci, Shannon Ridge, Paul Dolan Wines, Vigilance, and others. Wine regions include the Union des Grand Crus de Borcdeaux, Union des Grands Crus de St. Emilion, Consorzio di Chianti CLassico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Consorzio di Franciacorta, Rioja Alavesa, and others.

©2016 All rights reserved.