Your Favorite Wine Is Probably More Alcoholic Than You Think

If you woke up feeling even worse than you could have imagined on New Year’s Day, turns out you might be able to blame the wine. Well, for a reason other than the glaringly obvious.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Wine Economics, the majority of winemakers are underreporting the percentage of alcohol contained in each bottle. Researchers at the University of California tested nearly 100,000 bottles of wine across the world and discovered that the alcohol content in nearly 60 percent of the bottles was an average of 0.42 percent higher than stated on the label.

The increase might seem negligible, but it’s probably not accidental. While winemakers are not purposely doing this to endanger the lives and livers of drinkers and drivers, nor are they simply doing loyal consumers a sneaky solid. More likely reports Newser, it’s that winemakers are seeking to avoid increased taxes and and meet perceived demands for more intense flavors.

“Wineries may have incentives to deliberately distort the information because they perceive a market preference for a particular range of alcohol content for a given style of wine or for other reasons, such as tax avoidance,” the researchers write. For example, the US tax rate jumps from $1.07 per gallon for wines with 14 percent alcohol or less to $1.57 per gallon for wine between 14.1 percent and 21 percent alcohol. “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,” they add.

Chilean and Spanish reds, and Chilean and American whites were among the worst culprits. So maybe rethink taking the car if your winter wine of choice is a Concha y Toro Casillero.


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