The alcohol content of Australian wine is on the rise as a result of climate change, according to experts.
Rob Geddes, one of Australia’s leading Masters of Wine (MW), said that grapes being grown for wine are being harvested earlier every year because of hotter, drier conditions, resulting in riper wines with higher alcohol content.
„The climate change issue is one of sudden heat spikes as well as continuing heat and high temperatures and that is an issue,“ Geddes, who in 2017 became the first Australian MW to set up an office in China, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.
„We are seeing higher alcohols and tis is the result of ripeness and also, to a degree, the result of some berry shrivel, depending on the grower.
„We were tasting one day and the wines that were 14.5 percent alcohol… a lot of them were actually 15.5 (percent alcohol).“
Wine Australia revealed earlier in November that China remained the biggest export market for Australian wine by a wide margin with the total value of exports to the country up 24 percent in the 12 months to September 2018 to 1.06 billion Australian dollars (769 million U.S. dollars).
Almost 50 exhibitors showcased 90 Australian wine brands from 20 regions at ProWine China 2018 in Beijing in mid-November.
Bruce Redman, co-owner of South Australia’s Redman wines and chief winemaker, said that the alcohol by volume (ABV) of his products had risen by between 0.5 and 1 percent since 2000.
„If we get too much warm weather and our vintage comes forward too much and we start harvesting too early then obviously, the grapes are going to be riper and there will be different characteristics in the wine,“ he told the ABC.
„What we are finding is that we are getting pretty similar characteristics in terms of aromas and flavors, but we are tending to find that in the past 20-odd years the alcohols have probably tended to creep up from around 13 to 13.5 to 14 percent by volume.“