By ROBERT BOOTH — THE GUARDIAN — July 05, 2011
A study of the alcohol content of 129,000 wines from vineyards across Europe and the new world over a 16-year period has suggested that many vintners have been « systematically understating » their wines’ strength on labeling.
Wine drinkers suffering an unexpected hangover after what they thought was a moderate drink may have just found someone else to blame but themselves.
The American Association of Wine Economists found that 57% of the wines analyzed were stronger than declared on the label. The average alcohol content was 13.6% when the average reported strength was 13.1% according to the biggest study of its kind undertaken yet. It was based on imports into Ontario, Canada, one of the few places to test the alcohol content of every incoming wine. Bottles from Chile, Argentina and the US were the worst offenders overall, but all of the wine-making countries analyzed, including France, Italy and Spain, on average underplayed alcoholic power. Just under a third of the wines overstated their alcohol content and these were typically the weaker bottles. (suite…)