The Wine Industry Thinks It’s Getting Us Drunk Too Quickly

on 25/03/14 at 7:35 am

imagesAs a fix, wine scientists are searching for a wild yeast species that will produce less alcoholic beverages.

The wine industry has a problem. Over the past years, the alcoholic content in wine has steadily been climbing, from 13 percent to, in some cases, 17 percent, Scientific American reports. Some might wonder: Ok, so what’s the problem? But for anyone who want to enjoy a drawn-out tasting menu at a fancy restaurant, a glass of wine at a business lunch or a bottle (or two) in the evening, this alcoholic boost can change a relaxing buzz into full-blown intoxication, complete with a hangover the next day or a sloppy, post-lunch nap in the office.

As wine consumers, we sort of have ourselves to blame for this shift. Wines are getting boozier because our tastes are shifting. These days, we prefer deeper wines with bright, fruity notes. Those flavors just happen to be indicative of alcohol content, SciAm points out, as they require letting the grapes ripen longer, which produces more sugar to fuel the booze-producing yeasts’ fermentation party.

So are those of us who like wine doomed to drunkenness? Not necessarily, scientists say. The search is on for a wild yeast species that will produce the same ripe, complex flavors but without the side effects.