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Wine Alcohol Content

Check Out the Amount of Alcohol Content in Your Favorite Wine

Different kinds of wine have different amounts of alcohol content, altering its taste, smell, potency, and texture. Without a certain amount of it, these would be incomplete. The following passages give more information on the same.
Tastessence Staff
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2018
It is a well-known fact across the world that every single type of wine contains some amount of alcohol in it. Its amount will vary from one to another, and from maker to maker, and different kinds of it. It has been scientifically claimed that one glass of it each day is good for health, but more than that is harmful to the body.

The more amount of alcohol that is present in a particular type of wine, the more harmful it will be to the body if consumed in excess. It is a number that is denoted as a percentage of the entire bottle, and it is required to be visibly listed on the bottle by law. For example, if the alcohol content in 100 ml bottle of wine is 15%, this means that 15 ml out of the 100 ml of the wine is alcohol.

Alcohol Content in Wine

The alcohol that is present in the wine is a very important ingredient for its final taste. Without its presence, the taste, the smell, and the texture would be extremely different. The traditional way of making wine requires some percentage of alcohol in it. Without it, it just wouldn't be the same. No matter what its harmful effects may be, ask any connoisseur and he will tell you that its presence is absolutely imperative.

As mentioned before, the strength of alcohol in a wine bottle has to be mentioned by law. Failure to do so would invoke many fines and penalties. According to the United States law, there is also a 1.5% leeway allowed on the alcohol content mentioned on the bottle. What this means is that if the bottle claims content of 10% abv (alcohol by volume), then the actual amount may be 11.5% or 8.5%.

Wine Categories

Wines are basically categorized into three groups, table, sparkling, and fortified wine. The maximum alcohol content on each of these is already laid down by the Government. Given below are the permissible limits for these three different kinds.
  • Table wine: 8% - 14%
  • Sparkling wine: 8% - 12%
  • Fortified wine: 17% - 22%
The alcohol content in each of these determines what the taste would be like. Fortified wines have the highest content, and they are strengthened by the addition of further alcohol. Most dessert wines fall in this category. For table wines, the alcohol simply adds a sweetness to the drink, as it comes mainly from the fermentation process. The presence of alcohol actually also adds a slightly bitter taste in the mouth, and some thickness to it, and this enhances the overall taste in the mouth.

List of Alcohol Content

Given here is a tabular description of the many wines that are available in the market, according to the amount of alcoholic content in them.

Very Low Content: Under 12.5%
Rose: Portuguese roses, California white zinfandel
Sparkling: Italian prosecco, Italian asti
White: German riesling, Portuguese vinho verde, French vouvray and muscadet, Spanish txacolina

Moderate Content: 12.5% - 13.5%
Rose: French roses, Spanish roses
Sparkling: French champagne, California sparkling wine, Spanish cava
White: Spanish albarino, French white burgundy, New York riesling, South African sauvignon blanc, New Zealand sauvignon blanc, Austrian gruner veltliner, Australian riesling, Italian pinot grigio, Oregon pinot gris, French alsace white, French loire, and Bordeaux white
Red: Italian chianti, French Bordeaux, French beaujolais and burgundy, Spanish Rioja

High Content: 13.5% - 14.5%
White: South African chenin blanc, Chilean chardonnay, California viognier, French sauternes, California chardonnay, Australian chardonnay, California pinot gris, California sauvignon blanc
Red: Australian shiraz, Argentine malbec, California cabernet sauvignon, French rhone red, California syrah, California pinot noir, Italian barolo, Chilean merlot

Very High Content: Above 14.5%
White: Spanish sherry (fortified), French muscat de beaumes-de-venise (fortified), Portuguese madeira (fortified)
Red: Portuguese port (fortified), California zinfandel, California petite sirah, Italian amarone

You may come across many different kinds of beer with lower alcohol content than certain wines, but seem more potent than them. Despite the differences between wine and beer, the purpose of the alcohol in each brew fulfills completely different purposes. While it acts as a culinary agent for wines, as far as beer is concerned it is more of an intoxicating beverage. To imagine wine without it is a fairly impossible task, and to attempt to do so would be against the entire purpose of the spirit.
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