My rice wine gets better all the time. A week ago I made the best yet. New tricks: Give it more time. Five days is better than three, because I can't take all that much sweet. When heating it to kill the yeast, be sure to wait till it froths before stopping. I failed to do that the previous batch and had rice wine all over the kitchen upon opening a bottle. It had been continuing to ferment and when I cracked the lid it became a geyser.
I finally tried some store-bought. The kind I make is closest to what they call Nigori (cloudy) in Japanese. I had a bottle of it. It tasted just like mine but the alcohol content was way higher.
[Below, an actual picture of actual Nigorizake the way you're supposed to drink it. Don't drink it out of a jar like I do.]
But mine is definitely alcoholic. And I am slowly picking up ideas for improving it. Some things to try in the future include a kind of rice-starter used to make Japanese rice wine (as opposed to the Chinese yeast cakes I've been using), adding small amounts of lactic acid (easily done and said to boost alcohol production), and a multiple step process (adding new rice to the pot after the fermentation has got under way.)
According to this Wikipedia article on sake, making it at home has been illegal in Japan since 1905! Apparently this is one of those laws that nobody enforces anymore. They say the Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it has information on home beer making.