Wine Alcohol Percentage May Be Higher Than Stated
In a recent study, researchers at the University of California analyzed samples from approximately 100,000 wine bottles. The discovery was alarming – around 60% of those samples read an average of .42% higher than the manufacturer’s label claimed. And it turns out that winemakers are aware that estimated wine alcohol percentage may not be accurate.
Apparently this is done (no surprise) to meet consumer expectations. If the actual wine alcohol percentage falls above or below what is considered ideal, winemakers play a little loose with the numbers.
This .4% may not seem like a lot, but for those closely monitoring their alcohol intake, it can be kind of a big deal. After all, a little bit can go a long way toward DUIs and hangovers the next morning. It may also increase the risk of health-related problems associated with alcohol consumption.
The biggest culprits tend to be red wines from Latin America and Spain. That is, the discrepancy between the bottle label and the actual wine alcohol percentage is the greatest. Also high on the list were white wines from Chile and the U.S.
Keep in mind that the average discrepancy does not indicate a maximum discrepancy. In other words, if you pick up a bottle of these wines, the truth of the matter may be a complete mystery.
Concerned organizations worry that wine manufacturers are misleading the public, and do so willfully for their own purposes. And they may have a point. After all, the study found that wine alcohol percentage was stated higher for relatively low content, and lower for relatively high content.
There is some demand for warnings on alcoholic products, which is standard practice in many other countries. In addition to an accurate wine alcohol percentage, many believe that alcohol manufacturers be required to provide nutritional and caloric content as well.
Changes in Manufacturing
In general, wine percentage is rising, and has increased by about 2% in last two decades. One may assume this is due to environmental factors, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The increase appears to be linked to the consumer demand for more intense, riper wines. Fulfilling this need results in a greater alcohol content. In other words, it’s the winemakers who are making the changes to the wine manufacturing process. The end result is wine which is more potent than in the past.
Moreover, wine consumers may want to think twice before they partake in that glass or two of wine before driving. And until a standard is put into action, consider the increased health risks and calories that may be associated with wine consumption.
IF you or someone you know is an alcoholic, please seek help immediately.