Over time, as vintners have improved their techniques in the vineyard, grapes have been harvested riper and the alcohol levels in wines have risen. In Bordeaux, for example, 19th century red wines were typically harvested at around 11 degrees of alcohol. By the mid-20th century, that had risen to around 12 degrees. Today, many Bordeaux reds exceed 13 percent alcohol, and wines from other regions of the world can reach 15 degrees and higher. Some winegrowers are now changing their vineyard techniques again and harvesting at lower sugar levels to try to bring alcohol levels back down slightly.
October 7, 2015