After an exhausting day at work sometimes there’s only one remedy. You find yourself in the store picking out a nice bottle of wine to drink with dinner.
You spot an Australian Shiraz you haven’t tried before which you’re sure your other half will love. A few glasses later and the stresses of the day fade into the background.
It’s time to call it a day!
When you wake up the next day, though, that bottle doesn’t seem like such a great idea after all. Your head is in agony, your mind is all over the place and your mouth is as dry as a desert after just a couple of glasses!
So, what went wrong? Well, you may not have realized it at the time, but that Australian Shiraz actually had a pretty high alcohol level.
Alcohol Levels in Various Wine Styles
When we take a look at the figures, the differences are striking!
When you think back to those couple of glasses of Shiraz, it’s easy to see why they left you feeling hungover.
There are times when having a little more alcohol is a wonderful thing. Like when you’re throwing a party and you want people to let their hair down and feel free to be themselves.
A really easy way to think about alcohol levels in wine is to recognize that each moment suits a different style of wine.
For example, if you’re planning a late morning brunch with friends, it’s best to stick to white or sparkling wines at 12 or 13% alcohol to make sure you can enjoy the rest of the day. On the other hand, for a barbecue with friends you’ll probably want to serve red and white wines which have 13% to 14% alcohol to get the party vibes going without overwhelming your guests and risking a bad hangover the next day.
How To Choose the Right Wine?
Choosing the right alcohol level isn’t always as easy as it sounds, though.
It’s best to check each label thoroughly as even wines that are from the same wine region and made with the same grape variety can differ greatly when it comes to alcohol percentage (also called abv or alcohol by volume).
Alcohol levels can also vary from vintage to vintage.
So it’s a good idea to look at this as well. If you enjoy drinking older wines this is particularly important as over the past thirty to forty years wines have become increasingly richer and more powerful.
This trend has led to increased alcohol levels across the wine-producing world. These changes have been most obvious in places like the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere which are collectively known as the New World.
Over in Europe, this trend has also had an impact. In the 1960s a high alcohol Bordeaux would have been anything over 12.5%, while today most Bordeaux wines fall into the 13% – 14% range.
So, how should you change your buying habits to make sure you’re getting the right alcohol level?
In reality, there’s no big secret to it. All you need to do is keep buying the wines you like rather than trying to follow what is cool or trendy. There is a moment for each style of wine, from light sparkling wines to heavy reds, and today there are thousands of high alcohol wines that are balanced and well-made.
Examples of these easy-going high alcohol wines include the full-bodied Cycles Gladiator Zinfandel which is full of ripe, rich fruit aromas and flavours that perfectly balance the generous alcohol.
When it comes to wine shopping, it’s important to remember that the wines you’re drinking should be making you happy as well as suiting your mood.
The beauty of being more aware of alcohol levels is that you can shop smart and buy wines that you love which don’t leave you destroyed the next day.
So if you fancy drinking a hearty bottle of white followed by a lighter red you can.
By drinking smarter you can control how much alcohol you imbibe and how you will feel the next day!
Related Reads – Calories & Sulfites in Wine
To learn more about the composition of wine and its impact on your health, continue reading through the following related articles: Calories in Wine: Top 7 Facts
Also check what you need to know about sulfites in wine.
About our Guests
This Guest Post was written 8wines.com exclusively for Social Vignerons.
8Wines.com an online shop for wine enthusiasts in all corners of the EU and beyond. Here you can find a wide selection of premium wines ranging from globally recognized brands to award winning regional brands and rare local finds. We try to be the ambassadors of good wines and offer the wines we love and drink ourselves. Our wines are always stored at the right temperature and we focus on the speed and cost of delivery.