Most Wine Has A Higher Alcohol Content Than The Bottle Says, Which Is Either Good News Or Bad News Depending On Your POV
This could either be good news or bad news, but it seems that there's a strong chance that most bottles of wine have a higher alcohol content than they claim. So on the downside, that means you might be ingesting more alcohol than you planned on — but on the bright side, more alcohol! So whether you're alarmed or cheered by the news is up to you.
These findings come from researchers at the University of California, who tested samples from almost 100,000 bottles of wine from around the world. In the end, they came to the conclusion that most bottles contained a higher alcohol content was higher than advertised. To be specific, in 60 percent of the bottles, the alcohol content was .42 percent higher than what the manufacturers claimed. Not a huge difference, maybe, but it certainly seems that the problem is widespread. If, that is, we're calling it a problem!
Overall, the researchers found that red wine was the most likely to have more alcohol than advertised, especially red wines from Spain and Chile. And it seems that winemakers might be well aware of the discrepancies. Researchers claim several winemakers told them informally that they adjust the percentage listed on the bottles, within the margin of error allowed by law, in order to keep the percentage in line with what consumers expect — average alcohol content has been rising in wines in recent years due to a variety of factors, but consumer expectations seemingly haven't changed much.
Overall, the discrepancies might seem small and unimportant — and even welcome to some who like the idea of a bottle with an alcohol content above what's expected — but the fact that they're so widespread could have consequences, especially for people who drink a lot of wine.
“A discrepancy of 0.4 percentage points might not seem large relative to an actual value of 13.6 per cent alcohol by volume, but even errors of this magnitude could lead consumers to underestimate the amount of alcohol they have consumed in ways that could have some consequences for their health and driving safety,” the study's lead author Professor Julian Alston told The Telegraph.
The CDC considers one drink per day to constitute moderate drinking for women, and when it comes to wine, they define one drink as five ounces of 12 percent alcohol content. In other words, you probably already exceed that every time you go to book club, but it's still worth keeping in mind that the amount of alcohol in that bottle of wine might be even higher than you anticipate, particularly if you drink wine a lot.
It always pays to be informed, after all. Because wine is too wonderful to let it hurt us with misinformation.