LIFE Published January11, 2016 By Czarelli Tuason

Most Wine Labels Lie About True Alcohol Content, Study Reveals

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Red wine
(Photo : By: Don Farrall | Getty Images)

A study published on the Journal of Wine Economics revealed that alcohol content in most wine bottles are higher than what their actual labels claim.

According to Telegraph on Dec. 29, researchers at the University of California studied nearly 100,000 bottles of wine from various parts of the world and found that the alcohol content declared on labels was actually 0.42 percent higher on average.

Wine manufacturers allegedly admitted to altering the alcohol percentage on their labels based on what their customers expect the alcohol content in wine bottles should be.

In general, Spanish and Chilean red wine bottles were found to have the biggest margin of error in terms of the actual alcohol percentage, while American and Chilean were the biggest offenders in white wine alcohol content discrepancies.

"A discrepancy of 0.4 percentage points might not seem large relative to an actual value of 13.6 per cent alcohol by volume," noted lead author of the study Professor Julian Alston, of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California Davis "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."

"An average error of 0.4 percentage points is much more significant compared with the typical range for wines in a particular category," added Alston "for instance, Napa Valley Cabernet might be expected to have alcohol content within the range of 13.5-14.5 per cent alcohol by volume, and an average error of 0.4 percentage points is large in the context of this range."

Other factors were also recognized to be the cause for such discrepancies, including global warming that is believed to be altering the production process, the ever-changing consumer preferences, and expert ratings, noted Stuff on Wednesday.

"Winemakers perceive that consumers demand wine with a stated alcohol content that is different from the actual alcohol content, and winemakers err in the direction of providing consumers with what they appear to want," said Alston.

"What remains to be resolved is why consumers choose to pay winemakers to lie to them."

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