What Are Low Wines (Distilling Explained)

Image of diy distilling what are low wines

As a beginner home distiller, you might have come across the term low wines. 

It’s one of those terms advanced home distillers often throw around and skimp over, making it difficult for newbies to grasp some basics of the craft. 

Low wines are the result of the first distillation. They are produced from a fermented product, wash or wort, and distilled during the stripping run. Distillers use low wines as raw material for the second distillation to produce a purer spirit – whiskey or vodka, with a high alcohol by volume (ABV). 

Join us for an in-depth discussion of what low wines are, their uses, and how you can produce them. 

What Are Low Wines?

Low wines are the result of the first distillation. They are produced from a fermented product, wash or wort, and distilled during the stripping run. 

Distillers use low wines as raw material to feed the second distillation. This helps them produce a purer spirit – whiskey, rum, or brandy, with a high alcohol by volume (ABV). 

Why Is It Called Low Wine?

The term “low” in low wines refers to the low alcohol content of the distillate –  20-30% ABV. The initial spirit is then redistilled to increase the alcohol content and produce what is referred to as high wines. 

Low Wine vs High Wines 

Let’s say you’ve collected the low wines. They’re packed with all unwanted substances – heads, tails, feints, and the desired liquid, hearts. 

You add these to your still and perform a spirit run, second distillation. You make cuts and collect the purer distillate. This is called high wine. 

Put simply, high wine is a purer product with a high ABV produced from low wines. It contains approximately 60-80% ABV and is often diluted and bottled. 

If you’re making matured spirits, like whiskey, you can dilute the high wine, age it, and bottle the final product after the maturation period.

What Is The ABV Of Low Wines?

The typical ABV of low wines is 20-30%. 

How To Produce Low Wines?

Assuming your wash has fermented, you’ll take the product and pour it into your still. 

During this process, you’re not concerned about making cuts. The point is to reduce the wash’s volume. 

Because low wines are produced from a stripping run, here’s how to carry out the technique. 

Performing A Stripping Run

  1. Add your wash to your still.
  2. Heat your still to the highest power that your condenser can handle.
  3. Run cooling water to the condenser before any vapor is produced.
  4. When your still reaches its highest temperature point and the vapor starts, start collecting your distillate.
  5. Collect distillate until the temperature of your still reaches 207 degrees Fahrenheit (97 degrees Celcius).
  6. Turn off the heat source and allow it to cool until there is no vapor left in the still.

Read More: Here’s our full guide to stripping runs.

Image of diy distilling low wines after first stripping run in my pot still

What Do You Do With Low Wines?

Low wines contain a myriad of nasty compounds, so the only appropriate thing to do is to redistill them. You collect them in your collecting jar and perform a second distillation. 

Low Wines – Frequently Asked Questions

The following are a few questions we’ve had asked about low wines and stripping alcohol.

Q. What are low wines and feints?

Low wines result from the first distillation. They are produced from a fermented product, wash or wort, and distilled during the stripping run. Feints are tails recycled in the spirit run – second distillation.

Q. Can you drink a stripping run? 

It’s not recommended to drink a stripping run. The distillate contains a myriad of nasty and harmful compounds, so the only proper thing to do is redistill them.


Low wines are a crucial part of the distillation. They serve as the preliminary distillate that’s later used to feed the second distillation. 

Low wines generally have a low alcohol content – 20-30%, but after the spirit run, you do wind up with a purer, smoother, and high ABV product. 

The distillate is not meant to be consumed. It’s laden with harmful chemicals – fusel oils, which are detrimental to your health.

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