Is climate change increasing the strength of Australian red wine?

9 July 2024

Apparently red wines made in Australia — and quite possibly elsewhere, I imagine — have been increasing in alcoholic strength over recent decades. This seems like a mystery of the times, because the go-to culprit, global warming, may not be responsible. Rather, the way grapes are grown, and changes in fermenting methods — which apparently includes a slight decrease in the amount of water going into the mix — may be playing a part.

In the past, water was most commonly “added” to wine in the form of ice-blocks, in the times before refrigeration. Small — quite small, I believe — quantities of water, were always included in the winemaking process, but that’s been cut back more recently as well. So there we have it, some red wines contain more alcohol, but no one seems one-hundred percent sure why. I’m not the biggest wine-drinker though, so I doubt I’ll be investigating this matter much more.