Why are wine alcohol levels so high these days?
Over the last few decades, the average alcohol level of many still wines has increased: in Bordeaux the median has increased from around 12.5% to 13.5%+; in California, the increase has been more marked (from 12.5% in the 1970s to 14.7% in the 1990s).
There are many factors that have contributed to these increases: climate change; newer markets with a demand for riper, softer styles; influential wine journalists, in particular in the US, who rate quality by wine power. However, the single most influential factor in rising alcohol levels is a positive one: the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which has resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested.
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