Sunday, January 06, 2008

Drink more wine ....but lower the alcohol, please!

Here is wishing you all the best for 2008 and on this first post for the New Year, I would like to thank the good folk over at for my nifty new word of the day widget. I was given the opportunity to be one of the first to try out their "wine word of the day" and I love it. Its like having a daily contributor to my blog. You will find it over on their widget gallery. Hop over and have a look. Thanks Liz and Jay!
Over the last few years as more and more Americans have turned to wine as their favorite tipple, media reports on the US eventually becoming the world's largest consumer of wine have been plentiful. The latest survey confirms that not only are more people drinking wine but per capita consumption is also on the rise. Per capita consumption in the US now stands at 2.77 gallons and projected estimates for 2007 will place the US ahead of Italy in total consumption of wine. Predictions are for the US to replace France as the number one wine consuming nation within three years. One of the reasons for the increased consumption is all the publicity about the potential health benefits red wine bestows upon us and I have blogged about that a number of times myself. But will that create a demand for lower alcohol wines? After all three glasses of wine at 15% alcohol is about equal to four glasses of wine at 12%. So if you like to drink about 3 glasses the second option is a healthier choice.
The higher alcohol wines and ways of reducing the alcohol levels have been a controversial subject for some time. Two techniques employed have been the reverse osmosis and the spinning cone method. Vinovation and Conetech are two California companies in the forefront of
using these methods. Dan Berger, editor at Appellation America, shares some good insights into this subject.
"Superstition" says Wine Enthusiast's Jim Gordon, about the believe by some winemakers that yeasts are getting stronger and are contributing to higher alcohol levels. And Jim Patterson at Wines & Vines debunks this myth in his sound explanation on the subject of yeasts.
Growing world wide consumer demand for lower alcohol wines has however spurred research into the production of lower alcohol yeasts as reported in a recent article by Wynboer from the Institute for Wine Biotechnology at the Stellenbosch University. Researchers at the Australian Wine Research Institute are also attempting to generate lower alcohol yeasts.
In the meantime make 2008 the year to learn one new wine word or fact per day by visiting my blog regularly and above all enjoy your daily bread with a good glass of wine.


Liz of the Widgets said...

Hey Wilf!

Thanks for the mention. I just wanted to add that the Widget Gallery is coming out tomorrow (Jan 8) with some bug fixes and added features... So if you can hold on, definitely check the site tomorrow.



Nick said...

Hi Wilf,

Great blog!

I agree with you on lowering the alcohol of wines - some are almost as strong as sherry! I dislike it when the alcohol blunts the flavour of food so tend to stick to those around 12%.