By Micah Hanks
Photo by Sanjay Acharya
At least as far as Californian wines go. In the present Californian wine market, the old standard, 12 % ABV, is out, with most wines from the West Coast raising their alcohol count by a percentage point.
According to experts, this is due to a bolder, richer “fruity” taste that has become the preferred norm. In order to achieve this, the use of sweeter grapes is paramount; hence, more sugars are used as well, leading to production of more alcohol during the fermentation process.
In a a piece appearing recently in the San Jose Mercury News, “bold, fruity and rich flavors earn higher scores from wine experts, boosting sales. High-alcohol wines–from grapes picked at the end of the season, with high flavor and sugar–can also be enjoyed within a year of release and make for quicker profits. Lower-alcohol wines may have to sit in cellars for five or more years.”
California, known for being one of the leading producers of quality wine in the US and the world abroad, must have high yield for the great demand among consumers. In addition, with the trends toward higher-gravity “monster hopped” beers becoming more and more popular, it only stands to reason that wine would follow suit and begin to pack a greater punch also.