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Mar 2, 2014 06:58 AM

Is Wine the New Whisk(e)y?

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  1. I love how calories are always mentioned. If you are enjoying 1 glass of wine with dinner, isn't the difference between 13% and 17% abv only about 50 calories?

    If that makes a difference to you, you should probably skip the glass entirely, loose the weight, and then celebrate with an entire bottle.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

      Uh, did you actually READ the article? I have -- and nowhere in the entire article do the words "calorie," "calories," or "or caloric content" appear.

      The one and ONLY reference to weight is one single sentence in the middle of the sixth paragraph (out of 16), and that merely states,

      >>> "And then, of course, there are alcohol’s well-documented effects on waistlines, health and well-being." <<<

      The entire article is about YEAST and the discovery of a strain that, somehow, produces lower levels of alcohol that other yeasts when grapes are picked at the same level of sugar.

    2. Hi Zin,

      Interesting article and as you and I both know the soaring alcohol levels in some wine is certainly nothing new. For example, over a decade ago I had a bottle of Martinelli Gewurztraminer that weighed in at 17% ABV! A colleague of mine in Germany even accused me of exaggerating this so I saved the bottle to show him on his subsequent visit to the USA. I recall some of their Zinfandels and Pinot Noirs were also very high in alcohol.

      I hope they continue the yeast research so we may enjoy wine that is lower in alcohol but does not come across as under ripe. My only question is if the yeast does not produce as much alcohol, would that mean the wine is sweeter because less sugar is converted into alcohol?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Fowler

        Well that's the interesting question, isn't it?

        For years -- decades, in fact -- I've been wishing for just this sort of development, a yeast that produces less alcohol for the same amount of sugar.

        Now, I remember in Chem classes having to make sure the equations balance -- for so much "in," you had to have so much "out." And yet, as I've pointed out before, the alcohols have been rising even for the same amount of sugar.

        UC Davis *used* to teach that sugar -- as measured in "degrees Brix" -- divided by 2 equalled alcohol. In other words, harvesting grapes at 24° Brix ÷ 2 = 12.0% abv.

        Sometime in the late 1960s-early 1970s, UC Davis taught that sugar × 0.55 = alcohol. In other words, 24° Brix × 0.55 = 13.2% abv.

        But in the wineries *I* worked in, conversion rates of 0.60-0.62 were not uncommon, meaning that 24° Brix × 0.62 = 14.88% abv.

        Now if that's true, why CAN'T it go the other way 'round?