Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Unlike European wine, which is made by fermentation of naturally sweet grapes and other fruit, rice wine is made from the fermentation of rice starch converted to sugars. This process is akin to that used to produce beer. However, beer production employs a mashing process to convert starch to sugars, whereas rice wine uses the amylolytic process.
Sake is often referred to in English-speaking countries as "rice wine"; however, this usage is a misnomer. Sake is produced by means of a brewing process using a mash similar to that which is used for beer. Thus, sake would be more accurately referred to as "rice beer" rather than as "rice wine".
Rice wine typically has a higher alcohol content, 18%–25% ABV, than grape wine (9%–16%), which in turn has a higher alcohol content than beer (usually 4%–6%).
Rice wine is much used in Chinese cuisine and in other Asian cuisines. A common substitute for it is pale dry sherry.