Sun kissed California wines not for the faint of palate.

Dear Wine Ladies,

I have been a fan of California wines for over fifteen years, but have noticed lately that they seem to be packing a bigger “alcohol” punch, more now than ever before. Is this my imagination, or am I just getting older and unable to handle it?

Dear Wine Ladies,

I have been a fan of California wines for over fifteen years, but have noticed lately that they seem to be packing a bigger “alcohol” punch, more now than ever before. Is this my imagination, or am I just getting older and unable to handle it?

Peter

Pointe Claire, Quebec

Dear Peter,

No, it’s definitely not your imagination and not likely your inability to handle the alcohol due to your age (although age can be a factor when it comes to metabolizing alcohol). In fact the percentage of alcohol in California wines, generally speaking, has risen significantly over the years as they have done in many parts of the world, specifically from the new world wine growing regions. Our research led us to a letter published in the Wine Spectator which came from the California Department of Food and Agriculture citing the following;

* from 1981 to 1990 Napa Valley cabernets were picked with an average of 11.9 per cent alcohol
* 1996 – 2000, alcohol averaged 13 per cent at harvest
* 2001 – 2003, 13.4 per cent
* 2004 and 2005, the average was 13.6 per cent

The average alcohol percentage in “new world” wines today sits at approximately 14.2%. If you are seeking out wines of a more moderate percentage look to wines of the old world such from France, Italy and Spain, as well as Germany and Austria with white wines as low as 9 -9.5%

If you would like to know more about California wines please watch the video we did about Beringer Vineyards from Napa Valley California.

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