Alcohol levels in wine Giving Drinkers Headaches

 In Blog

According to media reports wine lovers around the world are becoming frustrated because alcohol levels in wines seem to have increased, forcing drinkers to stop drinking after just a glass or two if wine.

Another by-product of these increased alcohol levels are the headaches and hangovers that drinkers experience the next day.

According to the article wine critics and advances in winemaking techniques are some of the causes for unbalanced wines that can cause health risks and safety issues for drinkers.

Read what a post on reported on the phenomenon:

“The rise in alcohol content of wine is primarily man-made,” reported a working paper by the American Association of Wine Economists in 2011.

Over the last two decades, drinkers have developed a passion for fruity, aromatic wines with round, silky tannins, encouraged by high ratings from critics.

Even for growers who favour elegance over “fruit bombs”, the quest for ripe tannins has led to grapes with more sugar, which transforms during fermentation into higher alcohol levels.

“I would stress that higher alcohol levels are never our aim, but rather the logical consequence of the way we work in the vineyards today, which has evolved considerably compared to how it was 20 or more years ago,” says Christian Seely, managing director of AXA Millesime’s wine estates in France and Portugal.

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The post on goes on to describe the changes which have occurred which have resulted in this increased alcohol level in wine. It is quite a complicated explanation revolving around revised methods of winemaking.

Read what the post had to say below:

395921-wineA couple of decades ago, yields were twice what they are today, and very little sorting was done to select the best fruit.

The alcohol levels might have been lower, but the tannins were often unripe, requiring years of cellaring to soften.

Today vintners look for mature tannins in the grape skins and seeds – phenolic ripeness in the industry jargon – before the harvest, even if it means higher sugar content.

“It is important to understand that the effect of achieving more regularly greater phenolic ripeness is not just to achieve higher sugar levels and so higher potential alcohol levels, but also, crucially, riper and finer tannins,” Seely told AFP.

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Wine drinkers believe that wine makers have gone too far in increasing alcohol levels progressing from drinking two glasses of wine with 12-percent alcohol to a similar amount of wine that contains 14-per cent alcohol, which as the article explains could push a person from under to over the legal limit for driving.

According to some wine experts, increasing the alcohol content of wines disturbs the balance of wine. But more importantly drinkers should understand that an increase in alcohol content is not an excuse to behave irresponsibly or engage in dangerous activities such as drink driving with the excuse that they are unaware that they are over the limit.

Drinkers, even wine drinkers should understand the importance of responsible drinking. They should realise that alcohol content in some wines have increased and therefore adjust alcohol intake accordingly.


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